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Byron Shire
October 20, 2021

Mullumbimby residents rail against illegal camping in Heritage Park

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Camper vans and a caravan parked illegally in Mullumbimby’s Heritage Park. Photo Jodie Ewin/Facebook

Mullumbimby resident Jodie Ewin has taken to Facebook to vent her frustration about being ‘kept awake every night having to listen to illegal campers’ in the town’s Heritage Park.

Ms Ewin says vans circle nearly every evening near the boat ramp at the end of Stuart Street – and she is calling on Byron Shire Council to do something about it.

‘We, as residents, are subjected to daily illegal campers disturbing the peace, with very loud music (that goes all night) and the yelling and screaming with abusive and offensive language,’ said the Mullumbimby businesswoman on her Facebook post.

‘The drinking and the drug taking is beyond a joke, the dog fights, the fist fights between the people, the rubbish, the mess, the list goes on!’

But Ms Ewin said what pushed her over the edge was being woken up at 6am on February 28 ‘by a man screaming at another camper to “shut the fuck up you stupid cunt!” while they were chasing each other up and down my neighbour’s driveway, physically fighting.

‘What a great start to the day,’ she wrote.

Ms Ewin said the campers roll in to the park in the afternoon… crank their music, crack their drinks, let their dogs wander wherever they want – and it continues until the early hours of the morning.

‘Most nights it does not stop. Some stay all day, some pack up at dawn and sneak out.

‘But,’ she added, ‘some never leave!’

Complaints to council

Ms Ewin said she and her neighbours had complained to Byron Shire Council ‘many times’ and questioned, ‘why isn’t anything being done?’

She added it had got so bad that locals feel they now can’t even go down and enjoy their local park.

‘This photo was taken this morning from our front verandah. It was a slow night by the looks, normally there are double or triple the amount of vehicles. Some even attempt to hide in the bushes on the side,’ Ms Ewin wrote.

People commenting on Ms Ewin’s post were unanimous in their opposition to the campers and had no hesitation in pointing the finger at the council for not doing something about it.

Danielle Diehm wrote ‘about time this council actually started to worry about taking care of the ratepayers who they are paid to represent. This town .’and the entire shire is an absolute joke! Good folks like you guys shouldn’t have to put up with this type of thing, especially considering we pay some of the highest rates in Australia and don’t seem to get a whole lot for it.’

Queanbeyan visitor Sharon Cappello concurred.

‘The last time we visited Mullumbimby, we stayed in beautiful legal accommodation, never partied/drank to excess/yelled/cursed/used disgusting language or left our rubbish behind,’ she wrote

‘We walked regularly past that park, never wanting to stop and enjoy the river and the park because of the rubbish, drug utensils, strong smell of open toilets (poop on the ground covered by toilet paper) and the rude and unsatisfactory behaviour of the people camping there. The council owes it to their ratepayers to keep their neighbour hood safe,’ Ms Capello added.

Joanne Newman shunted the blame directly at the council.

‘Take a look at Ballina Shire ladies,’ she wrote, ‘nobody lives in the parks or under the bridge’.

‘There is no illegal camping and no offending rude inconsiderate assholes doing what you have just displayed. Why? Because rate payers are taken care of and Ballina shire cares.

‘Mullum is just a dumping ground for all the people they won’t accept in Byron Bay as it’s bad for tourism and that’s probably why nobody does anything to help support the ratepayers of Mullumbimby.

Echonetdaily has requested a comment from Byron Shire Council and is awaiting a response.

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  1. The Council BADLY needs to get their act together on this one!!
    I often report illegal camping on the rural roads and NOTHING gets done!!
    Ratepayers DEMAND action!!

  2. Firstly I’d like to say I do “not” agree with illegal camping/partying/loitering etc
    I’d like to beg different to people living under bridges in Ballina!
    I WAS 1 of them with 2 children hiding from an abusive husband. It may of not been a “party” but we stayed there (under bridges etc) nightly, safe and dry, just cause you dont see people under bridges doesnt mean people arent there!

    There is homelessness in Ballina..Mullumbimby… Lismore..

  3. Byron has become the area known for free camping almost anywhere at any time. I have seen and smelt the filth that they leave behind.
    Council is accepting of this behaviour by their lack of attention to their removal. Overseas travelers know from far way they can get away with it in Byron Shire.
    In New Zealand a lot of these former free camps have been closed due to the filth and unruly behaviour

  4. I have stayed here on and off as a person living in their car for a while. I recognize a few local vans and a few that are backpackers. But never had I heard staying there loud music or fighting from people staying there.
    If there was loud music it was a house up the street. If it was yelling it was drunk local underage teenagers hanging in the park late at night( hmm no concerns about that?) one I had a talk with them. They calmed down.
    Say hello to the dog walkers and anyone who frequent there
    I enjoyed silent night there listening to the swoosh of huge fish predators on the full moon it was insane.
    I know once backers get a wiff of something good they tend to bleed it for all its worth but remember there are some struggling do tend to be staying at the same place.

  5. The Council may be at fault – however the type of offensive behavior that was described seems like a police issue. Why don’t we call the police to do something for the community instead of harassing pot smokers who drive?

  6. There needs to be a major project that addresses illegal camping. There is genuine homelessness but this is not the people we see camping from overseas with no respect or people like the ones at that just thi k it great to no pay and spend more on other things.
    We need to change our culture and up the respect and protect Byron
    A marketing campaign along the lines of pay to stay support locals no to illegal camping.
    Marketing and some of our brands are supporting this free spirit don’t pay for anything gypsy living. Rangers need to be paid, environment needs to be protected, we need to feel safe in our parks and community.
    Every time I walk down to King’s Beach there is faeces on the path. It is disgusting.
    Backpackers routinely wash their pots in the showers on main beach and in the car park so there is floating egg etc.
    We need a local filmmaker to make a clever ad that address the impact of illegal camping on our community and the cost of it. Locals need to support Council and Police efforts to stop it.
    We are destroying our community and environment.


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