Byron Bay residents and businesspeople are ‘crapped off’ by an ‘invasion’ of vanpackers who they say have set up an unofficial campsite on railway land in the centre of the town.
They say the travellers are taking advantage of a Catch 22 that prevents Byron Council rangers taking action against them in the car park adjacent to the Rails Hotel.
Local business owner Joy Barber Hua told Echonetdaily that ‘not only are the parking spaces for shoppers taken up by around 20 vans parked day and night but the campers are dumping rubbish and using the car park and surrounding business premises as a toilet.’
Crapping next to van
‘Just this morning I was confronted by human excrement by our back door together with used toilet paper. Last week there was excrement in the car park where a camper had clearly just decided to toilet by the side of their van.’
This is despite the fact that an Exceloo automatic toilet operates 24 hours a day just metres away in Railway Park.
‘We call the council and they say that as it’s railway land its not “council jurisdiction”, Ms Barber Hua said.
But she added that when she calls the company responsible for managing railway land, ‘they say there’s nothing they can do and to write to the minister for transport’.
‘I’m guessing that will be a waste of time,’ she said.
‘It seems that council and the railway company cannot agree on who should manage the car park (down to money?) and as a result it’s just been abandoned by both.
‘Word spreads quickly on forums that there’s free camping to be had and I’m despairing at how bad things will get as the summer gets busier,’ she said.
Ms Barber Hua thinks Byron Council should be working together with Transport for NSW ‘to make sure our town – where we pay rates – is safe for everyone’.
‘This car park is becoming a health hazard for everyone. I’m all for the hippy spirit but it’s anti social behaviour that council should be paying notice to and actually doing something about!’ she said.