'Pay or don't stay': Byron Council's stern warning
FREE campers are wasting valuable money, assets and environment, according Byron Shire Council.
Council's legal counsel Ralph James said the effects of these illegally parked vans are significant and they've had enough.
"Our message at the moment is if you don't want to pay your way in the shire then don't stay here," Mr James said.
Around 160 campervans are parked around the Byron Shire at any one time and Mr James said this does not even reflect the occupancy number within these vans.
"None of these campers to our experience are single occupant so the number of campers is significantly more than 160," he said.
Mr James said there were definitely "more than 300" illegal campers in the shire every night.
Council's rangers spend a lot of time policing these people as numbers continue to increase.
"We have to allocate our priorities in accordance with the seriousness of the activity and some of this camping activity is regarded as very serious because of the effects on the shire," Mr James said.
"If we put our resources into policing camping it means that other activities in the shire are not being attended to because the resources are being diverted."
"I'm not saying those things are not being looked at but if the resources are all being directed towards camping then those other things get less attention."
He said the problem is these people do not want to pay money for the privilege of being able to enjoy the Shire.
"We're across this issue of free camping but the free camping we or other places offer is not necessarily the kind of locations the people in the campervans want."