Noosa cracks down on illegal campers
An upset resident fed up with illegal campers taking parking spaces at the Noosa National Park entrance has welcomed a sudden crackdown on the messy overnight stays.
Regular surfer Brad Guy said the parking bays were at times overrun by camper vans at night and into the day.
"I go for a surf every morning at around 4am and the car park is gradually filling up more and more every day," Mr Guy said.
"We have counted up to 30 campers staying overnight or sometimes for weeks setting up small kitchens out the back of their vans, wagons, troop carriers et cetera," he said.
"With the campers taking so many carpark spaces and surfers and walkers coming in and taking up the rest this leaves no spaces for the general tourist.
"They shower at the open freshwater shower at the carpark washing soap into the ocean, they also wash pots, pans, and dishes allowing food scraps, oil and soapy water to flow straight into the ocean."
Mr Guy said camping parties were often held there with cans and stubbies left strewn around the place.
"One car had been in the same spot for the previous two weeks," Mr Guy said.
Mr Guy said authorities should wheel clamp offenders who would have to pay a fee to be released.
Noosa Council acting local laws manager Sunil Kushor said there had been an escalation of illegal camping which had led to increased patrols.
"In the past four days alone, officers have issued more than 30 infringement notices for illegal camping," Mr Kushor said.
"We also issue infringements to each person who is illegally camped rather than just the driver of the vehicle.
"Council staff also investigate specific complaints about illegal camping and work closely with Queensland police and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service officers in a co-ordinated response."
Mr Kushor said authorities had to be careful that action in one area didn't just shift the problem into another area.
A Queensland Environment Department spokeswoman said parks and wildlife officers and the council formed a partnership in 2018 to address concerns about overnight and long-term stays.
"The new arrangements involved the implementation of regulated four-hour parking at the main national park carpark at the end of Park Rd," the spokeswoman said.
"The new limits apply 24 hours per day, seven days a week to provide all park users an opportunity to visit this popular park.
"In 2020, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service installed gates at the entry to the carpark to trial closing the facility overnight 8pm to 4am during busy periods.
"A trial was implemented, with good success, during the 2020 school leavers celebrations."
The spokeswoman said the penalty for overstaying the four-hour limit was $266.
She said Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service was considering a proposal which involved closing the gates to the national park carpark daily from 8pm to 4am.
"Rangers also undertake regular patrols of the carpark and educate visitors about restrictions on parking and camping," the spokeswoman said.