Free camping ban marks end of era at popular park

Published: November 23, 2015
Bruce Chick Park closes to campers

A popular free camping site in northern New South Wales has been closed down, with the council responsible citing environmental issues for the decision.

Bruce Chick Park at Stotts Island near Tweed Heads has been well used by grey nomads and other travellers for many years but, as of today, those stopping overnight in their caravans or motorhomes will be fined.

Tweed Shire Council adopted a management plan some time ago which decreed that camping at the riverside site was incompatible with the park’s environmental and heritage objectives.

Tweed Shire Council has instead opened a ‘primitive’ campground at the nearby Murwillumbah Showground with space for 26 recreational vans. However, the ABC reports that the campers it spoke to at Bruce Chick were extremely unhappy with the $20 per night fee to be charged at the showground. The showground will allow visitors to stay for a maximum period of one week.

Last month, Tweed Shire Council said it was very supportive of finding suitable alternative sites to seek to tap into the freedom camping market.

The council said it would look into suitable alternative sites, with an emphasis on finding sites in Tweed hinterland villages such as Burringbar, Uki and Tyalgum.

Yesterday, Bruce Chick Park was packed with more than 30 groups, enjoying their last night of ‘freedom camping’ before council rangers begin policing the camping ban.

  • Have you stayed at Bruce Chick Park? Have any of your favourite free camps been closed recently? Comment below.
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Rod Frost
6 years ago

Tweed Shire was a progressive innovative council until about 5 years ago when ‘green left polititions’ gained a majority in the council. Since then anything not considered ‘green’ has been attempt (ongoing)to stop all forms of powered boating on the river is on their list.This group has already removed the incredibly successful ‘Speed on the Tweed’ veteran car festival and associated World Ralley Championship (worth millions to the local economy) on the basis it didn’t fit their green vision!

Gerald Young
6 years ago

Heard it many times before, do they have the legal power to do it? Will it be enforced after a short time of fear? Most of the time its bullshit

Rod Booth
6 years ago

Typical Tweed. Lived here for 35 years. This Council was just given a truck full of money, by Gold Coast Council, to clean up there Town and Streets in preparation for Commonwealth Games. How sad is that ??? Being told from another Council that your Town Sucks. Typical Tweed.. Just another nail in there coffin at Stotts Island.

Tim Duffy
6 years ago

A report in today’s ‘Lakes Post’ describes how councillors have voted to end free camping in Lakes Entrance.

6 years ago

No surprise Stotts Island is closed. It was overused – full bins, smelly loos, and dog-do were common. Thanks Burringbar for providing a clean and safe alternative – lets hope campers respect it! BTW, at $20pn, I don’t see Murwillumbah as an alternative for the overnight stop.

6 years ago

Burringbar is also out – “Closed by Council due to damage by ‘undesirables & overstayers’.

ray dowsett
6 years ago

I have used burringbar free camp for many years for overnight stays only &i have yet to see any misuse of the grounds we always left the grounds as clean as we found them .When will the council give us an alternative as good as burringbar regards Ray


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