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Theft Sparks Action

By Mark Beale

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 they shouldn’t be being subsidised by the ratepayer in the 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.

SOURCE: WHITSUNDAY TIMES

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