Ranks of homeless swelling at Ballina's Bicentennial Park

THERE is a "growing need" to manage the number of homeless people living in their cars at Bicentennial Park at Ballina, according to the council.

A draft concept plan for the park will be presented to councillors at Thursday's ordinary meeting.

Concerns have been raised about the general condition of Bicentennial Park and its ongoing use as an overnight camping site.

But rangers are also concerned about the growing number of regular users who appear to be homeless and living in their vehicles.

It has been reported that people often stay at the park when they have nowhere else to go.

"The rangers, when they consider it appropriate at the time, will have conversations with people that may appear to be homeless and seek to direct them to organisations that may be able to provide assistance," the council report states.

"Many of these people are thankful to the council for their understanding and will move on through the day from the park and only return later in the evening and then leave early the next morning before the rangers conduct patrols.

"The rangers patrol this park regularly and if a vehicle has stayed more than one night then a warning is issued."

If people continue to stay overnight at the park, pen- alty infringement notices can be issued.

In an effort to improve the park, the councillors will be looking at concept plans for the area.

The plans will be put on public exhibition to allow for community feedback.



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