Free Camping banned at Bruce Chick Environmental Park, and a crackdown on illegal camping along southern Tweed coast
A ban on free camping at Bruce Chick Park came into effect in late November, with a new RV-friendly camping area up and running at Murwillumbah showgrounds in its place.
Bruce Chick Park camping ban
A ban on overnight camping at Bruce Chick Park on the Tweed Valley Way, Stotts Island, came into effect on Monday 23 November, in line with a new management plan which found overnight camping threatened the park’s environmental and heritage objectives.
The closure coincides with the opening of a new ‘primitive camping ground’ for recreational vehicles (RVs) at the Murwillumbah Showground.
RV primitive camping ground opens
The Murwillumbah Showground Trust recently launched the new camping area, to accommodate approximately 26 RVs, after Council’s September meeting approved a development application for the primitive camping ground.
It followed lobbying from the RV community for safe and welcoming campsites for RVs in Tweed Shire.
Council General Manager Troy Green said Council had explored the potential of establishing an RV-friendly primitive camping facility at the Stotts Creek site but site investigations showed it would unreasonably conflict with the environmental values of Bruce Chick Park.
Mr Green said RV camping at the site would also require significant management, sewerage services and other facilities which would bring a considering ongoing cost to ratepayers.
“An RV-suitable campsite at the showground has the added benefit of supporting a local community group, without additional costs to ratepayers to provide maintenance and management,” Mr Green said.
Crackdown on illegal camping along southern Tweed foreshore
A coordinated response by Council and community groups in the area will tackle environmental issues, antisocial behaviour and rubbish dumping along the foreshore, Council’s Director Planning and Regulation, Vince Connell, said.
“The campaign will be a combination of community education, greater monitoring of activity and a program to remove waste already dumped along that strip of land,” Mr Connell said.
“It’s understood that many of the people camping illegally in that land are coming from outside Tweed Shire, so we will need methods to get the message to those people that camping is not appropriate and not allowed within the dunes or on the beach.
There are a number of nearby established and legitimate locations for camping and the education campaign will steer visitors and local campers to those facilities.”
Updated signs have been prepared and will be installed on Tweed Coast Road at Pottsville and Wooyung, at either end of the eight-kilometre strip of land between the beach and Cudgera Creek.
“There will be a concentrated blitz this summer, when levels of illegal camping are believed to be at their highest, and Council rangers have already stepped up the level of monitoring along that land,” Mr Connell said.
Enforcement and fines
“Enforcement and fines will be imposed where possible. However, this is a particularly isolated part of the Tweed and we will need cooperation from community representatives to effectively monitor the area.”
Council has been liaising with the Pottsville Community Association and would involve other groups in the area. Council Bushland Officer John Turnbull said illegal camping had significantly hampered ongoing efforts to revegetate that section of dunes.
Dune Care and Landcare
“The area includes valuable sections of Littoral rainforest and tree species such as banksia and coastal wattles are gradually re-establishing themselves, aided by the efforts of Council, contractors and Landcare volunteers,” he said.
“Twenty years of bushland regeneration can be undone in a weekend. Vehicles driving through dunes and bushland areas and people lighting camp fires – using native trees for firewood and causing bushfires – have a massive impact on the vegetation.”
Mr Turnbull said weed infestation is a major issue along the coast, where considerable resources have been contributed by Council and State Government to address the problem.
“The destruction of native vegetation allows weed species to invade, establish and take hold again.”
Please help us to look after and nurture our endangered beach and coastal vegetation for everyone to enjoy into the future. Stay in a local caravan park or camping ground. You’ll have the added benefits of hot showers, camp kitchen and other onsite facilities!