Illegal camper crackdown 'not easy'

WITH Byron Council adopting new initiatives to deal with the illegal camping nuisance at Byron Bay, planning director, Ray Darney, admits it’s not an easy task.

“As soon as we move them on from one spot, they turn up in another,” he said.

“We also have to be mindful of campers who are over the alcohol limit and can’t drive.

“At 2am in the morning after an evening of partying and drinking, people can be very difficult to move on and our staff are often confronted with abusive behaviour.”

Last week’s Byron News highlighted the impact of illegal campers on residents, with a Butler Street couple counting 23 vans in their vicinity one night over Easter.

Mr Darney said the council had allocated additional staff hours over Easter covering two shifts – 7 am to 5 pm and 8pm to 6 am.

He said rangers had carried out regular patrols of streets known for camping and had directed people to move on as well as issuing on-the-spot parking fines.

People camping in residential streets were a priority over Easter, with staff directing more than 500 campers to roadside rest areas at Bangalow, Tyagarah, North Ocean Shores and Yelgun, he said.

A further 900 fines were issued for illegal parking.

Mr Darney said finding a balance between encouraging people to behave responsibly and protecting community amenity was difficult at times like Easter.

New measures aimed at clamping down on illegal van camping include a concerted and consistent enforcement effort by rangers and better and more frequent liaison with campervan rental companies.

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