Camp­ing plan de­layed

The Cobram Courier - - NEWS - On­line sub­mis­sions can be made at: www.parks.vic.gov.au/redgum­plan or via email to: redgum­plan@parks.vic.gov.au un­til Oc­to­ber 14. By Kenji Sato

Plans to put more re­stric­tions on camp­ing along the Mur­ray River have been put on hold for two more weeks due to fierce lo­cal op­po­si­tion.

Fol­low­ing ‘‘strong in­ter­est’’ in the River Red Gum Parks Draft Man­age­ment Plan, Parks Vic­to­ria has ex­tended the date for pub­lic sub­mis­sions un­til Oc­to­ber 14.

Parks Vic­to­ria re­gional di­rec­tor Craig Stub­bings said the draft plan would pro­tect Vic­to­ria’s river red gum flood­plain parks, re­serves and wet­lands from degra­da­tion caused partly by over-camp­ing.

‘‘Free camp­ing will con­tinue to be the main form of camp­ing, but with more and more peo­ple vis­it­ing our out­doors spa­ces it’s crit­i­cal peo­ple only camp where it’s ap­pro­pri­ate and with­out dam­ag­ing the en­vi­ron­ment or im­por­tant cul­tural sites,’’ Mr Stub­bings said.

The plan would put stricter bound­aries and reg­u­la­tions on cer­tain camp­ing sites, with a book­ing and fee sys­tem used in some of the most pop­u­lar ar­eas.

‘‘It’s great to see peo­ple tak­ing an in­ter­est in this draft plan, which aims to pro­tect and en­hance the river red gum land­scape, while en­cour­ag­ing recre­ation and tourism,’’ Mr Stub­bings said.

At a fiery pub­lic meet­ing in Co­bram in Septem­ber, un­happy campers com­plained to Parks Vic­to­ria about the draft plan and the small win­dow of time for sub­mis­sions.

Co­bram Out­doors and Dis­pos­als owner Sam Kennedy said the plan would hurt lo­cal busi­nesses like his.

‘‘It will take away free­dom and ex­pe­ri­ence,’’ Mr Kennedy said.

‘‘It will dra­mat­i­cally change the life­style of the peo­ple who live in this area.

‘‘Ban­ning dis­persed camp­ing in our area will have a mas­sive ef­fect on camp op­tions here.

‘‘The plan will def­i­nitely re­strict the free camp­ing sit­u­a­tion in Co­bram.’’

Mr Kennedy said he had been camp­ing in the area since he was two years old.

‘‘In my 40 years of ex­pe­ri­ence the bush is look­ing bet­ter than it ever has,’’ he said.

‘‘There’s more bush than ever be­fore and the fish­ing is bet­ter than ever. You only have to go on Facebook and In­sta­gram to see that.’’

Mr Kennedy said while he had many gripes about the plan, some of the plan’s sug­ges­tions seemed rea­son­able to him.

‘‘Some things may need to be al­tered ad­justed and changed.

‘‘With­out proper reg­u­la­tion, camp­ing may be­come un­sus­tain­able,’’ he said.

❝(The plan) will take away free­dom and ex­pe­ri­ence. It will dra­mat­i­cally change the life­style of the peo­ple who live in this area.❞ Co­bram Out­doors and Dis­pos­als owner Sam Kennedy

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