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Byron Shire
April 21, 2021

Cost of ‘free’ camping

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Sunflower, Mullum Creek

Well said Alison Drover. Thankyou! Those who trash our beautiful towns aren’t ‘free’ as much as they think that lifestyle is. Actually they are slaves to their own sense of entitlement and lack of self-responsibility.

How would a locals’ card work? I’ve lived here 23 years, most of that time with an anchored ‘home’, but at times, enjoying sleeping in my car, in the forest, occasionally at the beach.

More and more women over the age of 55 are finding themselves single and homeless. One of the safest options is to live in a van. The ‘homeless’ are a diverse group.

A locals card could work on many levels. It would entitle card-holders to use the shower and toilet facilities at both Neighbourhood Centres, as well as the usual food, facilities and range of fabulous offerings available.

The card could come with a brochure explaining the expectations, the laws, the responsibilities of each person. As for being policed by rangers – when producing the card, locals who need support can be referred on to the neighbourhood and community centres for support to move forward in living options etc.

Those locals who are just sleeping out for a few nights are free to do so, providing they respect the surroundings. Those who are lazy, disrespectful, tourists or ‘long stayers’ could cop a good fine as you suggest.

Money from bed tax/fines etc could be funnelled into making life easier for those locals who do live on the fringe, including education on the ‘how to’s’ of stepping lightly and safely on the land; more clean toilets and covered areas.

Local fringe dwellers contribute as much economically and socially as other sectors of our Shire do. They can often be found cleaning up messes left by itinerants and tourists. The number of locals being forced to live simply will only increase from world influences – we need to accept that, and create a framework and embrace it.


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