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Byron Shire
August 4, 2021

Byron lockout for illegal campers

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Illegal camping has been an issue that has plagued Byron Bay and other parts of the shire for many years.

In an effort to stop overnight camping and anti-social behaviour Byron Shire Council will be locking the Butler Street Reserve every night from next Monday and penalties will apply for people whose vehicles are still parked in the Reserve after 9pm.

An installation of steel gates have been placed at the entrance to the reserve and they will be locked daily at 9pm and reopened at 6am.

For many months there has been an increasing problem with people camping illegally, partying and dumping their rubbish either in the Reserve or in nearby bushland.

‘Local residents have told Council they are tired of the constant noise from parties in the Reserve carpark at night and they have also said the rubbish, including human excrement, is intolerable, says Acting Mayor, Michael Lyon. ‘This waste is degrading and polluting the environment that borders on the sensitive Cumbebin Swamp.

Lyon says Council has spoken to the managers of the Byron Bay monthly market and the weekly farmers market which operate from the Butler Street Reserve and they are supportive of its closure at night.

‘The aim is not to disadvantage our local residents and workers who park in the Butler Street Reserve because they are respectful of the neighbourhood and the environment, but to change the behaviour of van packers and illegal campers who are using the Reserve as a free campground and party spot,’ said Mr Lyon.

People should be aware that from July 2019 the Butler Street Reserve will be closed when work starts on the Byron Bay bypass.

Both markets will be relocated while the bypass is being built and Council is working with the market managers to find alternative locations.

‘Council is very supportive of the monthly community market and the weekly farmers market and our priority during the construction of the bypass is to get them back to the Butler Street Reserve as soon as possible,’ said Mr Lyon.

There will be a telephone number on signs at the Reserve that people can call if they do get locked in but a fee for this service may apply.

For more information about the nightly closure of Butler St Reserve go to Council’s website or call Annie Lewis, Media and Communications Coordinator on 6626 7320.

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  1. This is a great step forward but it needs to be a holistic one as has been presented in many occasions.
    As an aside Council spends money and endless amounts of time on consultants and community engagement is the Kitchen Table yet consultants/ members of the community are giving them solution and input and yet nothing happens.
    These campers will move from Butler Street to another place on streets in residential areas and our nature reserves already under threat from over tourism.
    Illegal camping:
    Council and business need to be supporting a ongoing campaign working with all operators “pay to stay support our community it’s no free camping”
    All areas that are illegal camping hotspots need to be policed or have the ability to be closed off
    If registrations are repeatedly booked for illegal camping there should be repercussions for lisence suspension. There needs to be serious changes occurring. Council has a fortune in unpaid fines that could be filling potholes.

    Information needs to be clearly displayed on the legal places to camp and pricing ie a website that is used in conjunction with marketing – social media this could be part of marketing campaign

    Moving people from Butler Street means the problem is going to end up in Broken Head, Brunswick, Wategoes it outside a tesudebt’s house which is happening all over the Shire

    Rangers need to be funded so they are 24 hours but the fines are paid on the spot or vehicles are registered with Police.
    The revenue could be used to assist with accomodation for genuine homelessness.

    Illegal camping is threatening biodiversity, safety, fire, costing rate payers in rubbish fees, causing issues of conflict in the community.

    It is a serious a problem that is costing us and is a major threat to our biodiversity as we have seen with camping gets out of control as it has done.

  2. Thank goodness some good news forbmy family living on Somerset St op the reserve. Its been so stressful for them for years with the freeloading drifters making noise and crapping in the bushes and getting violent. Good job Hud Maughan shining a light on this antisocial behaviour and to the council for acting!


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