The holiday period was busy for Byron Shire Council’s enforcement team with 11 staff working early and finishing late.
Some 200 fines were handed out for illegal camping and another 900 for parking-related issues.
Shannon Burt, the council’s director of sustainable environment and economy, said there were no holidays for the enforcement team, who responded to ‘ongoing concerns from our community about illegal campers and their behaviour and to let these people know that setting up vans and camping on beaches and in residential streets is not okay any time of the year’.
In all, 1,119 infringement notices for a range of offences, including illegal camping and parking, were issued over the Christmas-New Year break.
Ms Burt said the team worked across all the public holidays, starting at 3am and finishing at midnight, ‘to send the message to illegal campers that they need to pay to stay’.
Enforcement staff wrote 218 infringement notices for illegal camping.
They issued a further 901 penalties for other offences including parking fines, which also take in people setting up their vans and sleeping in their cars in no parking areas.
Of those parking fines, 124 were at Seven Mile Beach Road at Broken Head,.
‘While we welcome holiday makers to the Byron Shire and hope they enjoy their stay, there is no place here for people who think they are entitled to park and camp wherever they like,’ Ms Burt said.
She added that residents and visitors who are paying for their accommodation ‘do not want to see tents on our beaches or in car parks and people setting up their vans in residential streets.’
‘Despite it being peak season there were still reasonably priced sites at some caravan parks in the Byron Shire so it is clear that the people who were camping illegally were doing so because they wanted free accommodation close to the beach,’ she said.
‘Many of the complaints we get are from residents who are tired of illegal campers and I’m confident they were pleased to see our Enforcement Officers out and about over the Christmas/New Year period,.
‘I am pleased that the majority of people fined were very respectful of council staff, understanding that they had a job to do.’
Ms Burt said illegal camping would continue to be a focus of enforcement operations during 2018.