A recent Facebook post that went viral around the region has brought home just how fast Chinese whispers can travel in a small shire.
On Tuesday, a person called Missy Moo posted on the Mullumbytes Facebook page that Byron Shire Council had cut its ranger staff to just one.
Missy said in the post that she went to the Byron council rangers’ office to ask them to move on some people who were camping near the access to Mullum Creek.
‘The person at the rangers’ office told me that there is only one ranger for the entire shire now. Apparently it has been that way for quite some time. The person was very hesitant to give details but indicated that the shire had allocated other rangers to parking duties only,’ she wrote.
‘They also told me that ranges are not allowed to move illegal campers unless there are two of them attending for safety reasons.
‘With only one ranger in the shire now, I wonder how that’s going to work! I asked about some signage for the area and was told it’s too expensive and comes out of the rangers’ budget
‘I’m pretty annoyed that our horses and dogs now can’t get in the creek to call off during our morning walk. We literally cannot get past the two cars, tent, clothesline and rubbish.
‘My kids like to eat breakfast on the rocks at the creek in the morning before school but that’s stopped too.
‘There is also the problem of the creek being used as a toilet,’ Missy wrote.
But that’s not so, according a Byron Shire Council spokesperson, said they have received other media queries about the issue since Missy’s post and were happy for the opportunity to set the record straight.
The spokesperson told Echonetdaily the council currently has four community enforcement officers who assist with compliance and street camping.
They are required to work in pairs outside of normal operating hours for safety reasons.
There are also four parking enforcement officers and one animal enforcement officer who work throughout the shire, the spokesperson said.
Byron council’s manager of sustainable development, Wayne Bertram, said enforcement staff were ‘currently reviewing’ Missy’s complaint.
‘At this stage we do not know if they are itinerant campers who can be moved on, or if they are genuine homeless people who require support.
‘With the Mullum Music Festival coming up and the limited amount of accommodation in town, illegal street camping can become an issue. Extra patrols have been scheduled over the weekend to help support town amenity,’ he said.
‘Signage has been erected at the town entry to alert incoming visitors not to camp in the streets and reserves,’ he added.
‘Enforcement staff can be rostered on from early morning to late evening, Monday to Sunday, depending on the time of year and what is happening within the shire event wise.
‘In trying to cover extended hours, seven days a week and allow for days off, there can be the odd day when only one compliance enforcement office is available,’ Mr Bertram said.