by Tim Howard
CLARENCE Valley Council will look at ways it can crack down on free camping hotspots in the Clarence Valley region this summer.
This afternoon's environment planning and community committee will look at a report from the Working Group on Campers draft enforcement program for the summer holiday period in nine identified free camping hotspots.
These are: Turners Beach, Hickey Island, Ocean Street, Convent Beach, Pacific Pde, Pippie Beach, Yamba Main Beach, Green Point, Angourie Point, Spookys and the Blue Pools car park.
The free camping phenomena has created angst among residents and businesses because of environmental impacts, noise and competition with commercial operators.
The group has found free camping is reactive in nature and can quickly escalate to create problems for residents.
It noted sudden increase in free campers at some sites had already become an issue in Yamba.
The group's research showed compliance and enforcement was a key way the council could maintain control of the issue.
"Some locations very quickly get known (via social media) as places where you might get fined/moved on, and importantly where you will not get fined/moved on," it said.
The group said it intends the proposed enforcement program sends a message to travellers considering free camping that Yamba is not the place for a free beachside experience.
It found the most effective form of enforcement was parking restrictions.
This would require creating no-parking times - midnight to 5am is proposed - and would require installation of adequate signage.
This would be enforced through policing by council's rangers during those times, with the issuing of infringement notices as required.