Illegal camping in Byron shire during the upcoming peak holiday season will be targeted by a beefed up squad of council rangers.
Byron Shire Council managers have warned of a ‘concentrated blitz’ this summer when the shire’s population swells with tens of thousands of extra visitors.
And they have warned that aggression by those told to move on won’t be tolerated in the wake of a recent assault of a council ranger by an illegal camper.
Extra enforcement officers have been employed and will patrol the area to ensure visitors camp in appropriate and legal areas.
Those failing to comply will be issued court attendance notices or on-the–spot fines.
Council’s sustainable development manager, Wayne Bertram, said many people illegally camping came from outside the shire.
‘While it is peak holiday time and accommodation can be hard to find, camping in the streets or in the dunes is not permitted,’ Mr Bertram said.
He also warned that people who abused or threatened council staff would not be tolerated.
‘Just this weekend we had a staff member assaulted as he moved-on a person illegally street camping,’ Mr Bertram said.
‘Our community enforcement officer was punched in the face and received a black eye and cut to his head. His thumb was also dislocated.
‘The offender was arrested and will be prosecuted for assault,’ Mr Bertram said.
New signs also have been installed at the shire entries and around the Falls Festival site at Yelgun advising that street camping is not permissible and that fines apply.
Mr Bertram urged anyone observing illegal camping to call council on 6622 7022 in order to move the campers on.
But he cautioned that ‘vans are a means of transport and can park as per the signed time limits within the streets and car parks’.
‘We have found that we are getting an increase in phone calls about vans that are legally parked. Not every van was about to setup for the night,’ he said.