Free camp­ing back on City agenda

South Western Times - - News - Kate Field­ing

Free overnight camp­ing in Bun­bury is back on the agenda with a trial set to be ap­proved for the sum­mer pe­riod.

Bun­bury City Coun­cil has iden­ti­fied three new lo­ca­tions as po­ten­tial overnight rest ar­eas for self-con­tained recre­ational ve­hi­cles af­ter recog­nis­ing a grow­ing trend in grey no­mads.

Wyalup Rocky Point pull-over bays, Ocean Drive carpark (ad­ja­cent to Scott Street) and the Maiden’s Re­serve carpark have been ear­marked for the trial.

It comes as the coun­cil ear­lier this year knocked back a rec­om­men­da­tion for a trial at Queens Gar­dens on Cob­ble­stone Drive af­ter feed­back from res­i­dents.

The coun­cil has been in­ves­ti­gat­ing free or low-cost camp­ing for about two years with Turkey Point at The Cut near Leschenault Es­tu­ary a com­mon sug­ges­tion.

That site was pre­vi­ously ruled out by coun­cil staff due to cost, con­tam­i­na­tion and ac­cess is­sues.

In a bid to at­tract more peo­ple to spend a night or two in the city and stamp out peo­ple il­le­gally park­ing up and stay­ing overnight, the coun­cil hopes to pro­vide des­ig­nated ar­eas that can be man­aged and mon­i­tored.

The trial still needs to be en­dorsed by the coun­cil, but Mayor Gary Bren­nan said it would be pi­loted for two years start­ing this sum­mer if ap­proved.

“This mar­ket seg­ment — of­ten re­ferred to as grey no­mads — spend much of their year trav­el­ling Aus­tralia pro­vid­ing both eco­nomic and so­cial ben­e­fits to the cities and towns they visit,” Mr Bren­nan said.

“We are miss­ing out on this fan­tas­tic op­por­tu­nity so over the trial pe­riod the city (coun­cil) will care­fully mon­i­tor im­pacts to the com­mu­nity and seek to mea­sure the ben­e­fits added to the city.”

Only self-con­tained ve­hi­cles will be al­lowed to pull up at the rest ar­eas — tents or ve­hi­cles that are not fully self-con­tained will not be al­lowed. Mr Bren­nan said an ad­vi­sory group had cho­sen the lat­est lo­ca­tions.

“That group in­cludes car­a­van park op­er­a­tors so it’s been con­sid­ered for that length of time, try­ing to find suit­able lo­ca­tions within our city,” he said. “We’re fairly lim­ited on where peo­ple can park, but they cer­tainly seem to like along Ocean Drive. Prior to the trial we are keen to hear any en­cour­age­ment or con­cerns com­mu­nity mem­bers may have about the project.”

Feed­back is open un­til Oc­to­ber 9.

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