Tassie free camp faces an uncertain future as safety concerns are assessed

Published: November 14, 2023

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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Putting the park in the hands of Parks and Wildlife Services is a certain method to have this camping area closed or placed in the hands of greedy Entrepeneurs.

So, what is there to consider. Parks and wildlife is an equity that is meant to serve the public. All of this safety rubbish, is a consequence of our gov’t regulators having policies that reward bad behaviour. Punish people whom do the wrong thing, don’t punish the good. WAKE UP AUSTRALIA

Handing Kentish Park to Parks and Wildlife is going to be a big mistake. They will charge a fee to camp there and nothing will get done to improve the area.

No point worrying about having the extra space for when the rowing is on as the rowers all camp on the banks at the rowing course, even though the signs are clearly marked at the entrance at the top of the road “NO CAMPING”.

Now Parks have their hands on Kentish Park it will have the same rules as all other areas they take over

They will implicate no camp fires whenever it suits them, more than likely charge a large fee even though it’s been free for over 20years.

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