Savage fine for illegal campsite
BYRON Bay resident Allan Arthur Yarrington was fined $30,000 and ordered to pay costs of $26,000 after pleading guilty in Byron Local Court yesterday to operating an unapproved camping ground next to the Splendour site at this year's festival.
It is the second high-profile case the council has won since it cracked down on unauthorised holiday letting and backpacker accommodation in the shire.
Byron Shire's governance manager Ralph James said the latest win was significant for the council and sent a strong message that unapproved development which had potential impacts for environmental harm and human safety was unacceptable.
He told the court that during the July long weekend council staff observed a large number of vehicles, including campervans, parked on the property, recording up to 144 separate vehicle registrations. They also saw at least 60 tents, annexes and tepees.
"Following observations of the property and a subsequent refusal of the defendant to allow access to the property, a search warrant was executed," Mr James said.
"Upon entering, staff estimated that between 150 to 200 people were camping on the property at the time of the search."
Stressing the property was not related to or operated by Splendour in the Grass, Mr James said the eastern boundary of the site featured wetland, high conservation vegetation, key fish habitat and wildlife corridors.