Council to rock out Scarrabelotti's Lookout vanpackers
BYRON Shire Council will be restoring the boulder barrier placed at Scarrabelotti's Lookout in January to prevent illegal overnight camping.
Last week, several stones had been rolled away and vanpackers were back enjoying the million-dollar views for free at the lookout on Coolamon Scenic Dr.
Shannon Burt, the council's director of sustainable environment and economy, said illegal camping was spoiling the area for everyone.
"I am sure that our community supports council taking this stand to prevent illegal camping at what is a beautiful spot with breathtaking views.
"When you go there now there is rubbish on the ground and it is clear the area is being used as a toilet."
The rocks were removed by a self-styled group of community activists and the signage prohibiting camping is also missing.
Activist spokesman Chris Turnbull said they had "reclaimed Scarrabelotti's Lookout" and "any attempt by council to intervene will be met with prosecution of the ranger and general manager".
Ms Burt said she was confident local residents would support the council's efforts to curb illegal camping at the lookout while a long-term solution to the problem was found.
"Council placed rocks in the reserve in January this year to reduce the size of the carpark in response to people complaining about the number of vans and cars using the area as free camping ground," Ms Burt said.
"The fact someone went to the trouble of moving the rocks is extremely disappointing and I believe shows a blatant disregard for our community.
"There is an RMS free camping area several kilometres down the Pacific Highway with toilets, and there are low-cost camp grounds available in Byron Bay."
When Byron Shire News visited the site last Thursday there was barely a vanpacker in sight.
But there was plenty of evidence of their presence, with rubbish scattered around the picnic table, signs of camp fires, a couple of withered tomato plants in pots, and piles of toilet tissue concealing human faeces dotting the perimeter.
Campers onsite told us they had only been in Byron Shire for two nights but had assumed it was OK to camp at Scarrabelotti's because there was no signage stating otherwise and the site was accessible.
"There was no sign and the other local people we met here said it was legal to camp here," they said.
"They told us this was public land and that if we did get fined we could work off the fine at the community gardens in Mullumbimby."