Free camping in doubt

THE issue of developing a ‘free-camping' policy for Bellingen Shire has not disappeared.

Following the lack of a definitive decision by councillors in December, general manager Liz Jeremy, said the matter was being reviewed and something would come back for debate by the council early in the new year.

“The problem of free-camping has been here in the shire for quite some time,” Mrs Jeremy said.

“But it is also neither a new nor isolated problem.

“We will be looking at what other councils have done and what has worked for them as a guide to how we might respond here.”

She said finding a solution to the lack of a proper camping/caravan park in Bellingen itself was a different matter that required a longer term approach.

“We'll deal with the free-camping first and then move to the broader issue of camping and tourism in the shire.”

Meanwhile the clean-up after last week's rain and busy camping week at the Bellingen Showground continues.

Showground trust member Caroline Joseph said while the showground would never consider itself as replacement for a designated caravan park, it still fulfilled an important social role offering camping spaces to people during large community events and to individuals visiting family members.

“The showground is public land and the trust is answerable to the NSW Lands Department,” Mrs Joseph said.

“We have recently completed a detailed plan of management and one of the main recommendations was for a small well-appointed camping area to be legalised.

“The trustees are content to support large community events and we are doing everything possible to upgrade our facilities.”

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