CAMPERS who want to stay longer than three days at Wilks Park will be kicked out if a Wagga City Council recommendation is approved.
In a report that will be submitted to the commercial and economic standing committee on Monday it is recommended that self-contained travellers only be allowed to stay 72 hours at the stopover facility or face being fined.
Other conditions include limiting the number of self-contained travellers, placing conditions on rubbish dumping and not allowing “inappropriate users” to camp on the site.
Council’s Riverside project manager James Bolton, who authored the report, said a minority of people had been using the park for extensive periods of time which was turning other people away.
“The industry is really growing and with that there is a bigger demand for stopover points,” he said.
“With the increase there’s been a push to tidy it up.”
He dismissed claims that council could be turning away business by not allowing people to camp at the site for a longer time.
“We’re trying to support business, we’re hoping to encourage the economic benefits of the self-contained travellers,” he said.
The news was a slap in the face for Jeff Simons, the manager of Big4 Holiday Park, who said the six licensed caravan parks in Wagga were not against free camping but didn’t think it should be in the centre of town.
“Being a local business, we employ local people and pay our rates – now we are being undermined by council who feel it’s OK to operate a free camping site in the middle of town.
“Wagga is already adequately catered for with camping grounds we cater for people who need unpowered sites with a minimal fee of $20 a day.”
The possible changes received a mixed review from people staying at the caravan park yesterday.
Donald Sumpter, legally classified as homeless and suffering from heart problems, has been living at the park for the past six months.
“We could just go away for a night and then come back and stay the next day – there’s more ways than one to bounce a ball,” he said.
“I camped on the river bank for two months and just came back here when I needed fresh water.
“Whatever council is going to do people will be able to find ways around it."
Queenslander Tony Maloni has been staying at the park for the past week and because he has a broken rib he plans to stay for another 10 days.
“We usually do shopping in town – I’ll buy food, beer and petrol for my generator,” he said.
“I’d prefer not to go in a caravan park – who can afford it?”
The changes won’t bother Albury resident Ian Mintern who said he only came to stay at the park for a couple of days with his wife to see their daughter.
“My wife is a mad shopper and bought more than she should of this morning,” he said laughing.
“It sounds like a good way to maintain the place.”