Sean O’Meara, Brunswick Heads
Reflections Holiday Parks is by far the biggest lawbreaker in Brunswick Heads and possibly the Shire when it comes to land use. The group of local drummers that Reflections paid the police to harass and threaten with arrest while they relaxed on public land were breaking no laws.
Around ten years ago Byron Council identified over 150 cases of illegal noncompliance in Reflections Terrace Reserve caravan park. While some of these issues were for things like undersized campsites and not providing the legal amount of parking, many were very serious safety and fire regulation breaches, and over 50 were for illegal occupation of land too close to riverbanks and dangerously close to roads.
Despite continual complaints about Reflections’ illegal operations, and ten years after this report, they are still blatantly ignoring strict local and state government regulations. Their most significant breaches of the law are seen in their ongoing refusal to comply with border setbacks.
It is the law that Reflections allow public access along the Terrace Reserve riverbank, but after hundreds of complaints from the local community and Council, nothing has been done. There is not one inch of the promised public walkway, and the riverbank continues to be illegally occupied solely by Reflections’ paying clients.
The NSW Caravan Park regulations clearly state that no campsite can be within 10m of a public road. In the Terrace Reserve, Reflections continues to flaunt the law and endanger people’s lives by permitting tents less than 1m from the road.
Last year I wrote to Reflections reminding them of their legal (and moral) responsibility and notified them that twice in two months cars had crashed through their roadside fence in The Terrace, and had there been the usual tents beside this fence, fatalities could have occurred.
Despite these near misses (and the law), Reflections refused to comply. Last weekend Reflections had more than ten tents full of kids illegally 1–3m from the Terrace roadside – and at the same spot where a drunk driver hit the fence only four months ago. The police estimated he was travelling at around 100km/h.
Reflections is run by the state government. How can anybody have any faith in a government that operates like this and basically says, ‘Break any laws you like if they get in the way of profits’. Any private operator who behaved like this would have been shut down years ago.