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Byron Shire
March 6, 2021

Crackdown on street camping in Byron Bay

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Illegal campers in Byron Bay's streets is becoming a health hazard. Photo supplied
Illegal campers in Byron Bay’s streets is becoming a health hazard.

Two street campers have each been hit with a $500 fine after challenging camping fines issued in Byron Bay in January.

The penalties issued in Byron Bay Local Court last Thursday send a strong message that street camping in Byron Shire will not be tolerated, according to Byron Shire Council.

Council’s governance manager Ralph James said the fines were issued to a Victorian registered campervan seen parked at the northern area of the Clarkes Beach car park on Lawson St, Byron Bay.

‘The entry to the car park area is clearly signposted as “Camping at any time prohibited”. Plus around the boundary, there is “No Parking 1am to 5am” signage,’ Mr James said.

‘Each occupant of the vehicle was issued with a penalty notice and fined $110, which they chose to have the matter dealt with by the local court.’

Mr James said the applicants chose not to appear however, and ‘the court acknowledged the problem of street camping in Byron Bay and increased the fine from $110 to $500’.

Mr James encouraged people coming to Byron Bay to stay in approved camping and accommodation venues.

‘With so many good places to stay in Byron Shire, it’s simply not worth being fined.

‘Our rangers and parking officers are out early doing rounds and there is a high chance of being fined,’ he said.

Visitors who need more information on camping sites should drop into the Byron Bay Visitors Information Centre and pick up a copy of the ‘Where can I camp’ brochure.

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  1. That should send a strong message to the others. It’d be an idea to post that judgement and fine around Byron where campers are known to settle. They could have had several weeks in a backpackers for that amount.

  2. Council should head down to the Belongil carpark over the railway lines – they would clean up!
    Help bring down our rates!

  3. We love RV friendly towns which are getting more numerous.
    When you buy a house you get to own a block of land.
    All Australians pay for the rest and it belongs to all of us.
    You will be welcome to come visit where I live, in a friendly town.
    In years the only fine we ever had was in Tweed Shire
    and the (minor) fine was acting contrary to a sign, not camping, etc.
    So sad, the peace & love hippies are long gone,
    Byron has become the domain of the greedy, fascists.

  4. Byron Bay… What have you become?
    A gormless, mediocre suburb?
    A half remembered dream? Scared and addicted to small mindedness?

    That is how you are coming across.

  5. Our crown land caravan parks have priced themselves out of this young/low budget tourist market and actually helped create this growing problem of street camping.
    Instead of retaining cheap affordable campsites, we’ve seen an increase in high return cabin precincts occupying prime positions. Holiday homes are also wildly overpriced particularly during peak/festival seasons so it’s not surprising young travellers are not willing to fork out for sub-standard, expensive accommodation.

    Council could easily provide short term camping zones during these peak periods, but prefers to use the big stick and fine people instead. Bruns Foreshore Protection Group has repeatedly recommended the old pacific hwy site alongside Ferry Reserve camping ground be used for overnight vans. Also Byron’s railway sidings are un-utilised and could provide practical relief for households left to deal with the problem.

    There are positive win/win solutions but it’s so much easier to whinge and beat up on the victims of this appalling Council policy.Let’s face it, low budget travellers are just not profitable – and it’s seems Byron Shire would prefer to force them out with punitive measures, so our tourism industry can focus on the big returns from those wealthy upmarket elites.

    Political donations fund Council elections too!


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