FINE FRENZY: Illegal camping triggers push for free sites
A SPATE of camping fines has led to calls from within council to expand free camping to more areas of the Whitsundays.
In June, Whitsunday Regional Council issued 33 illegal camping infringements in the Dingo Beach, Cape Gloucester and Hydeaway Bay area.
A further 60 fines were issued last month around Cannonvale, Airlie Beach and Shute Harbour.
During yesterday’s council meeting, community services director Julie Wright said the fines were given to a “mixed bag” of residents and visitors.
Division 5 councillor Gary Simpson received several complaints from residents about illegal camping and said it was important council “kept on this”.
In a bid to reduce illegal camping, Division 6 councillor Mike Brunker raised a proposal to extend free camping to include the Collinsville dam.
“People are still screaming out for free camping areas and I think we should also be looking at the SunWater facility in Collinsville at the weir there,” he said.
“I think now that we’ve had some success with (Peter Faust Dam) we should look at creating a facility (in Collinsville) as well because it gives people the opportunity to head west into Collinsville.”
Cr Brunker said the Collinsville dam would be a “great site” for free camping.
Free camping was introduced at Peter Faust Dam in Proserpine at the end of last year.
Beyond the dam there are no other free camping sites in the Whitsunday region but there are two free RV sites in Proserpine and Collinsville.
However, the region is still a popular camping spot, with Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service reporting more than 370 bookings in the four weeks since camping reopened on June 2.
Cape Hillsborough National Park was the most popular camping area with 139 bookings followed by the Whitsunday Islands National Park.