Disgust at filth left by riverside campers

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Illegal camping on the Brisbane River
Campers on the Brisbane River near the Geoff Fisher Bridge in Fernvale. PIC: Queensland Times

A ‘once tranquil’ stretch of the Brisbane River is being trashed by irresponsible campers … and the State Government is being urged to crack down hard.

Somerset Regional Council says all manner of rubbish is being dumped by campers in the area to the west of Brisbane, including human excrement, nappies and used condoms.

Other issues reported include four-wheel-drives tearing up river banks, fences being cut, and cattle let out onto roads.

Councillor Sean Choat said the council was sick and tired of the mess people were leaving behind after setting up at popular spots along the river like Savages Crossing and Twin Bridges.

“Disgraceful human filth is the best way to describe (the worst of what is dumped),” Cr Choat told the Queensland Times. “We’ve got to do something. Council is so frustrated. We’ve tried everything. We can’t police it. It’s in the lap of the State Government, it’s their corridor.”

Cr Choat said police have told him the vast majority of ‘ratbags’ are coming from outside the region.

“Businesses want to run kayak and canoeing trails and council would love to have that and even provide facilities but it would be a waste of time and ratepayers’ money,” he said. “I know people who operate those sort of businesses … they’ll come to something like this on the weekend when it’s in full swing and they’re horrified what they see floating in the water.”

The council says it has tried hard, with the assistance of local police, to address the problem but it wants the state government to amend legislation to enable sanction to be brought against individuals who are ruining this once tranquil section of river.

“With a simple amendment bill in the parliament, the state could address this matter once and for all, enabling environmental protection and council to create an attraction for local residents and visitors alike,” Cr Choat todl the Queensland Times. “Unfortunately it’s going to be heavy handed … we don’t people to have to come up here and wade through muck.”

Somerset Regional Council will write to the new Resources Minister Scott Stewart to request a change in legislation to assist in managing behaviour in the catchment, which runs from Wivenhoe Dam to the Mount Crosby Weir.

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14 Responses to Disgust at filth left by riverside campers

  1. I stopped at a free camp in S.A. recently where you could stay 2 weeks for free, it was nice and clean. Unlike some of my outback comfort stops, which were less than ideal. Anyway this free camp required you to fill in a registration form with date staying on it then you put it in a sealed box before you left. This might go part way to help with the problem, because you could be traced by your vehicle reg.
    Whatever happened to the ‘take only photos and leave only footprints’ philosophy? It’s so sad. I’m so sorry we are not all like that

  2. We worked at a very large camping ground which was used by lots of people and they didn’t care what they left behid in the showers and around the park . We where forever cleaning up after the all left . The did not care .
    This was very disapointing you wonder how they live in there house .

    • They probably live the same way…like animals

  3. A group of us with boats and kayaks got together some years back and did a clean up along that riverbank and it was disgusting then. Lucky we had a ‘mothership’ because our kayaks would have been overwhelmed with rubbish.

    On a lighter note, the prize find was an adult blow-up rubber doll which took pride of place in the bow of the tinny as the figurehead. It’s. good thing we all wore rubber gloves.

  4. I hardly think this is a “grey nomad” issue……used condoms,nappies,4wheel drivers ripping it up……not Grey nomad behaviour! Why is it on this page.? 99% of grey nomads we meet do the right thing with rubbish and waste…..it is the younger campers that hit and run.

    • I think that it is a Grey Nomad issue because the locals will not differentiate between ‘responsible’ grey nomads to any other campers. As far as they’re concerned we should be in a caravan park.

      I virtually only free camp and have seen rubbish left in campgrounds that a travelling camper would not be carrying with them, therefore suggesting to me that the people responsible are locals, however I’m sure that the local council would not make a distinction and simply close the ground to all.

      I’m not sure how we can fix the problem, but ignoring it is definitely not one way.

  5. If council would let people camp on privately owned vacant land, maybe this wouldn’t happen…

    • There are a number of privately operated camp grounds around Fernvale. Let google be your friend. Twin Bridges below Geoff Fisher bridge is banned (has been for years) There are overnight spots at highway level on the Southern side of the bridge.

  6. We operate 100 acre camp area, guest just leave broken marquees, sofa beds, rubbish for the birds near there camp sites, we provide skip bins but that must be too hard. Stealing shower roses, breaking toilet seats, nice if everyone paid for their camping fees, enjoyed their time and left the areas respectable. Then fees would not have to be increased for the lazy few.

  7. Here’s a thought.

    What if we all contributed a few dollars towards a fund where we could donate some cameras to the councils where these campgrounds are badly affected so that the offenders can be caught.

    Not only would we be proactive but it would send a message to the council that we don’t endorse this sort of behaviour and that WE do care for the environment.

  8. piss all the campers off. Only have self contained caravan and motorhomes allowed there. Problem solved

  9. How about onsite caretaker, wouldn’t cost council much maybe a generator for their use if required & a mobile so they can call ranger/police etc again if needed & add a sign stating caretaker onsite, lots of nomads would enjoy the stay just overseeing & once people are aware they won’t bother coming to this spot….

  10. Its not just the camers it’s the locals dumping there washing machines tyres and car body’s there to and what ever else they want mayb the council should do something about them to they won’t even supply a lady with a family a bin so she uses the public bin at fernvale for her own rubbish

  11. Camping is banned on the banks of the river, however you may use the day rest areas at Highway level adjacent to Geoff Fischer Bridge.

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