Budget campervan numbers drop

Thursday 6 January 2011

Budget campervan numbers drop


One of the stories of 2010 that drew many comments from readers was the issue of budget campervans using public spaces as campgrounds, particularly along the Port Douglas Esplanade.

But according to Cairns Regional Council, van numbers decreased later in the year after peaking in June.  A Council spokesperson said that wet weather may have also played a part.

"Data indicates that visitation to Port Douglas seemed to peak in the traditional winter months when southern weather is not so campervan friendly. The region has had wetter than normal year, a fact nationally well recognised, which may well have contributed in the drop off in numbers later in the year."

Council local laws officers undertake early morning patrols of parks, reserves and other areas used by campers. These areas range from north of the Daintree River down to south of Wangetti.

Campers are generally issued with a warning for the first offence and issued with a fine if they are found camping in a public place on another occasion.

In 2010, 620 campers were moved on or given a warning with just 19 receiving fines. These figures are well down on 2009 where 942 campers were asked to find more suitable locations and 46 fines were issued between March and December.

But it seems that it's not just our region that has a problem with the 'wicked' travellers, Sydney's Eastern suburbs are also being overrun with beachside car parks looking more like campgrounds.

One report likened the scene as a "gypsy camp" with barbecues, rubbish, and even live chickens clogging footpaths.

"There's faeces at the front of the toilets and people defecate off the cliffs. It makes me sick," said one angry resident. 

Editor's Comments: The dilemma we're facing is that these travellers have always played an essential part in Port Douglas life.  They are always welcome around the restaurants and hospitality sector to help fill the seasonal jobs at peak times.  It's a shame that a small minority of these travellers are ruining the situation for the vast army of young travellers who do obey the rules.  Maybe a zero tolerance approach for a short while would shock the others into playing by the rules.