Illegal campers set up on suburban street
UPDATE 8.55am: ONE annoyed reader has sent in an image of illegal camping on the streets of Byron Bay.
This comes after news Byron Shire Council plan to crack down on the practice.
The car is parked on the side of a suburban street, the remnants of the evening activity strewn on the ground beside the vehicle.
Original story: FREE campers are wasting valuable money, assets and environment, according Byron Shire Council who are cracking down on illegal campers by increasing ranger patrols during this peak holiday period.
Illegal camping is a major problem in the Byron Shire particularly at this time of year.
Shannon Burt, Director Sustainable Environment and Economy, said staff will be issuing fines to people caught camping illegally, or sleeping in their cars.
On-the-spot fines range from $110 per person to a maximum $2200.
"There are 15 legal campgrounds in the Byron Shire and many have very reasonable rates, even at this time of year, so our message to people is that if they are coming to Byron for a holiday they need to pay to stay," Ms Burt said.
"Residents are sick and tired of people pulling up outside their houses, near the beach, or in bushland and setting up camp without any proper facilities.
"In many cases there are no toilets or bins so people are defecating and urinating in the bush or in public areas and leaving their rubbish there as well.
"It's disgusting, creates health hazards and also pollutes our beautiful environment.
"What we have are large numbers of people coming to the Byron Shire to experience our beautiful beaches and bushland; they are then staying illegally, polluting the area with their human waste and rubbish, not contributing to the economy and ruining it for everyone else."
Ms Burt also warned about the danger of campfires getting out of control and said Brunswick Heads and Broken Head will be priority areas for enforcement teams.
Staff will be working a rotating roster to enable early starts and late finishes, seven days a week, over the busy holiday period.
"For significant breaches, or for repeat offenders, Council will not hesitate to issue Court Attendance Notices which have a maximum penalty of up to $110,000," Ms Burt said.
Residents who wish to report illegal campers are asked to go to the Report It tab on Council's website, www.byron.nsw.gov.au or call 6626 7000.