Noosa to fine campervans parked illegally

SOCIAL media and quirky new apps are encouraging campers to bunker down at Noosa hotspots illegally, creating a headache for council and residents.

The problem, which has sparked 36 formal complaints since the start of the year, has prompted the Noosa Council to look at changing the local law to better deal with the issue.

Strategic planning officer Anne Wilson said the council was looking at changing the law so the owner of the vehicle, instead of the driver, could receive the $550 fine.

This was because many of the drivers were overseas backpackers who were difficult to trace once they'd left the country.

The Noosa Spit, Noosa Heads Lions Park, Noosa Lookout, Noosa River foreshore areas and beachside car parks have become hotspots for illegal campers in and out of peak season.

Council officers will write to campervan hire companies Wicked, Juicy, Space Vans, Apollo, Brits and others, advising free camping is not allowed on council-controlled land in Noosa and will provide advice on where people can stay.

Campervan drivers caught camping illegally had informed local laws officers Wicked Camperhire - best known for its crass graffiti on the sides of its vans - had been advising customers of free places to camp.

"In discussions with the drivers (camping illegally), local laws officers found an app on their phone advising they could camp in Noosa free," Mrs Wilson said.

The officers also had to blog Wicked's site to let readers know free camping was against the law in Noosa.

A campaign in 2010 advising campervan hire companies free camping was not permitted in most areas had a "positive, albeit minor" influence in reducing the number of illegal campers.

With mobile travellers in recreational vehicles the fastest growing segment of the tourism industry in Australia, the council was looking to ensure there were adequate places for such visitors.

Council officers have recommended in a report to be voted on tomorrow that the infrastructure charges rebate for community organisations policy be amended to enable community organisations providing a camp ground to be eligible for a rebate.

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