Coun­cil in­creases se­cu­rity af­ter cam­pers steal power

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Rory Sheav­ils

“...they shouldn’t be be­ing sub­sidised by the ratepayer in the use of power,” Cr Jan Clif­ford. they shouldn’t be be­ing sub­sidised by the ratepayer in the

COUN­CIL is clamp­ing down on il­le­gal camp­ing af­ter a photo posted to so­cial me­dia caused pub­lic out­cry.

The im­age showed a camper­van plugged into a coun­cil power box while camped un­der a ‘No Camp­ing Any­time’ sign in Air­lie Beach.

Coun­cil last week passed a mo­tion to “in­crease pa­trols in the hot spots for il­le­gal camp­ing and also in­crease se­cu­rity on our power boxes”.

“Il­le­gal camp­ing has been a prob­lem in the area for a long time,” Cr Jan Clif­ford, who moved the mo­tion, said.

Cr Clif­ford said the photo had gone “pretty vi­ral”.

“And I felt it nec­es­sary to do some­thing about it,” she said.

On so­cial me­dia two schools of thought have emerged on the is­sue, with some say­ing the cam­pers are worth pan­der­ing to.

“One lot of peo­ple think that the in­de­pen­dent trav­ellers are a great as­set to town, and they are in their own way, but use of power,” Cr Clif­ford said.

“There are camp­ing fa­cil­i­ties around town at a very rea­son­able cost.

“It is il­le­gal to camp out­side of camp­ing ar­eas in the Whit­sun­days.”

These lo­cal providers agree that some­thing should be done to curb il­le­gal camp­ing.

Mag­nums Ho­tel di­rec­tor of mar­ket­ing and op­er­a­tions El­iz­a­beth Hack­ett said they “fully sup­port the higher de­gree of se­cu­rity on those sites”.

“One, for safety, and two, for lo­cal busi­ness,” she said.

“We wel­come all guests to Air­lie Beach, of course we do, how­ever there are bet­ter ways of do­ing things.”

Base and No­mads Back­pack­ers man­ager Suzie Tay­lor said it was im­por­tant back­pack­ers “do it prop­erly and safely with­out leav­ing any­thing but a foot­print in Aus­tralia”.

“It gives us an op­por­tu­nity to make sure they’re safe and sound, so we al­ways say its worth pay­ing the ex­tra money and be­ing able to use our fa­cil­i­ties,” she said.

AC­TION: Cr Jan Clif­ford in­spects a power box at the Air­lie Beach mar­kets carpark which was bro­ken into by tourists. Photo Rory Sheav­ils

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