Call for cheap camp areas
COMMUNITY support has grown for establishing locations in Coffs Harbour where campers can stay free or at a low-cost.
Every January, Jetty foreshores carparks and other beachside locations become a hive of activity with budget campers staying overnight.
A Coffs Harbour council spokesperson said rangers conducted regular patrols and moved on campers from public spaces but this did not seem to be deterring beach campers.
Bob Moulds, a member of the Coffs Coast Caravan Club, agreed that designated areas should be set up for budget campers to camp cheaply during peak season.
“There are more caravans and campervans going on the road these days so we need to make it possible to have all these campers stay here,” Mr Moulds said.
“I can see both sides to the issue but during peak times when caravan parks are full, something needs to be done to ensure these campers can still stay here and bring money into the local economy.”
However, locals were still concerned about how a loss of income for caravan park owners would affect other local industries.
Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia (CMCA) member benefits manager Phillip Berry said the tourism industry could only benefit from free campers.
“I think councils are starting to realise that these people are bringing in tourism, as the money they save from caravan parks goes straight back into the tourism industry,” Mr Berry said.
“We have recommended to (Coffs Harbour) council to designate an area for people to camp and charge a small fee for the services provided.”
Mr Moulds and Mr Berry agreed that most ‘free’ campers were simply looking for somewhere to spend the night because they arrived too late to check into a caravan park or were travelling on a tight budget.
“I think there needs to be better management but we should still allow travellers to enjoy staying in the Coffs Coast region,” Mr Moulds said.