Is charging for loo use a good ‘free’ camp model?

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Grey nomads to be charged for using Bull Reserve. toilet
Coin-operated toilets are common in Europe.

With massive numbers of caravanners and motorhomers flocking to the free camping area at Bulls Camp in the Blue Mountains, the local council is toying with the idea of charging for the use of the facilities.

Concern has long been growing that that the spot at Woodford was becoming too popular for its own good and measures were needed to control the impact that campers were have on the local area.

The Blue Mountains Gazette reports that Bulls Camp Reserve is actually a Roads and Maritime Service rest area, not an approved camping ground, and travellers are supposed to stay for a maximum 24 hours.

As well as looking into the possibility if introducing coin-operated toilets and showers, the Blue Mountains City Council has resolved to replace signage to indicate the area is a rest stop; not a campsite, and to investigate the potential of developing an approved camping area which may need to be paid for. It will also provide information at the site on camping areas nearby.

Councillors broadly agreed that action needed to be taken.

“The idea of paid toilets and showers at Bulls Camp is worth considering,” said councillor Daniel Myles. “They are using Bulls Camp because it’s free … make them pay!”

Councillor Chris Van der Kley later told the Gazette that introducing paid toilets in high-traffic tourist spots like Echo Point and Bulls Camp was worth investigating.

“We need to look at recouping the money that it costs to keep the facilities open,” he said. “In Europe they all do it in high tourist areas. We need to see whether it’s economically viable.”

However, Cr Romola Hollywood thought introducing a fee at Bulls Camp would create other problems.

“Having slots for $1 for going to the toilet or shower is not going to address the issue,” she said. “It will probably cause more pooing in the bush which is what we are trying to address across the mountains.”

The council reportedly spends $70,000 a year on pumping out the toilets.

Bulls Camp was reputedly built as a stockade in 1835 for the convicts working on the road. There is a flogging stone, reputedly where the convicts were beaten, with a grooved sandstone slab, said to have given the flogger a better foothold.

  • Would you have a problem with paying to use the facilities at camping areas like this? Comment below.

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8 Responses to Is charging for loo use a good ‘free’ camp model?

  1. Most free campers are self contained….maybe the council should flog those found poopin in the bush and charge them 50 bucks for the service !!!money boxes for showers and toilets would cost a mint to replace when they are pinched….maybe the council should just accept the extra revenue the grey nomads are bringing their town !!!

  2. A system being used overseas is that toilets are locked. You use your mobile phone to receive a code to open the toilets. If they are in a disgraceful mess when you open them the authorities can look at the last phone number and therefore a name to start their investigation. May be a smarter move although a SMALL fee would probably be alright I can envisage clumps of tissues and toilet paper around the toilet block from certain members of the travelling public.

    • That is all well and good if you have phone reception.
      In our travels we have found that money boxes can attract destructive thieves that will try and destroy anything for a buck or two.
      Most local (Ozzy) GNs or travellers are ok with donations, but a lot of international visitors are not

  3. We don’t have pennies anymore so could be hard to charge for.

  4. No problem with paying for a shower, but I would not pay to use the toilet.

  5. So, if I read the sign correctly, one pee costs you 20p…

  6. Nothing to do with free camps, good clean toilets are a must, paying about 20 cents for the toilet, perhaps 1 or 2 dollars for a shower would be great.
    As for paying via your phone, an excellent idea, having the facility in towns where most have some sort of coverage easy.
    A person would have to be a bit of a grub not to want basic things like that.

    • Agree with you Pomme. Having been a domestic/industrial cleaner in a past life, the person/s responsible for keeping these facilities clean would prefer adequate funds to do so and if the public is paying, they just might think of that person/s’ job and would they like to be cleaning these toilets themselves. It is great to think logically but not everyone can do that.

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