The popular destination of Noosa on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast is stepping up its campaign to stamp out illegal camping.
Just a week after it was announced that the area’s network of council-run holiday parks had experienced a record year financially, the shire says it is to begin a trial targeting illegal camping in Noosa Woods.
The council will trial a 10pm-to-4am no-parking zone along Claude Batten Drive starting on August 28, with an initial two-week transition period to allow the community time to adapt to the changes.
Noosa Mayor Clare Stewart said the trial had been launched in response to a surge in complaints from the community about travellers in vans camping illegally overnight.
“Last year we received 434 complaints about illegal camping,” she said. “This year we’ve already surpassed 400 complaints with five months still to go.”
Director of Development and Regulation, Richard MacGillivray, said the council had increased patrols all over the shire but Noosa Woods – particularly the car parks at Noosa Spit – were a major hotspot with lots of campervans full of travellers flocking to the area at night.
“With campers getting together, drinking and getting rowdy there are safety issues for the public and our Local Laws Officers, as well as the impact of the mess and food waste being left behind, which poses a threat to our native flora and fauna,” he said. “The vans are monopolising parking spaces into the morning so others can’t park there, and our natural areas are even being used as toilets.”
Mr MacGillivray said the council will keep up illegal camping patrols and enforcement across the shire to ensure travellers don’t disperse to other public areas.
During the last two illegal camping patrols, 51 and 28 infringements were issued for illegal camping.
“If trialling the no-parking zone proves effective we can look to adopt similar arrangements in other areas,” he said. “While everyone loves a cheap holiday, the number of travellers in vans setting up camp in our car parks, streets and public areas has become too great an impact and council has to step in.”
The trial of the no-parking zone follows recent joint operations between Council and Queensland Police targeting large groups of illegal campers.
“Public car parks and streets aren’t camping areas, they’re not set up with appropriate cooking and shower facilities and the community is tired of them being used this way, especially when Noosa is well serviced for camping facilities well equipped to accommodate vans,” Mr MacGillivray said.
He added that people in genuine need due to rental and housing issues who may be living in cars were not the target.
“In fact, our staff are trained to assist people in need with referrals to services that may be able to support them to find accommodation,” he said.
Council will review the success of the trial after two months.
For more details, visit the council’s Parking Regulations page here.
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