The long-term future of a popular free camping area in north-west Tasmania that has been closed for well over a year is now more uncertain than ever.
Kentish Council decided to temporarily ban camping at the site at Kentish Park back in March last year following a serious incident in which a tent was allegedly hit by a car. The campsite has had a history of anti-social behaviour.
Now, having failed to reach a ‘commonsense’ agreement with the Office of the Tasmanian Economic Regulator and National Resources and Environment regarding free camping, the council says it has transferred the ownership of Kentish Park back to the State Government.
It said it could not safely re-open the site for camping ‘in an economically feasible manner that will satisfy the requirements of the economic regulator’.
The area has remained open for day use.
A previous decision of the Office of the Economic Regulator determined that the council was required to pass on the costs of providing camping facilities to campers.
The future use of the site is to be determined by Parks and Wildlife which is now responsible for the use and management of the park.
Kentish Council said that, at a recent meeting of the Mersey Forth Recreation Management Committee, there was strong support for Parks and Wildlife to address the safety concerns with camping at Kentish Park and to re-open the area to overnight camping.
Mayor Kate Haberle told the Grey Nomads that the council was hoping that camping can resume at Kentish Park, but stressed that it was now a decision for the Government, and Parks and Wildlife.
“There has been major infrastructure developed in the area by Mast and Hydro Tasmania and it is imperative that overnight camping be again allowed to take full advantage of these major assets and cater for overflow camping when major events are held at Lake Barrington,” she said.
Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) told the Grey Nomads it was currently in the process of assessing options for the future of Kentish Park.
“This includes careful consideration of visitor safety and assessment of built infrastructure,” a PWS spokesperson said. “During this assessment process, members of the public are welcome to provide feedback on what they would like to see the area used for in the future and why.”
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