Beachfront residents on the southern Gold Coast say they are fed up with illegal campers urinating in public, dumping rubbish, and taking up valuable parking bays.
Key points: Rainbow Bay residents say they are frustrated by the large number of illegally campers along the beachfront Councillor Gail O’Neil says she is aware of the issue but illegal camping is difficult to prove City of Gold Coast will introduce timed parking at some popular beaches on weekends and public holidays from February 1
Mena Tsikleas has been living at Rainbow Bay since 1966 and said he was frustrated by the large number of people illegally camping along the beachfront.
He said there was a white van with Western Australia licence plates that had been parked beside the beach on Snapper Rocks Road for three weeks.
“I think it’s rude,” he said.
Mr Tsikleas said two illegal campers were recently seen exiting their van naked and wandering into bushland to urinate.
He said he had complained to council numerous times about the ongoing problem of illegal campers.
“Especially up the top of Greenmount Hill. It stinks up there in the mornings.
“I’ve seen people pull up outside my place and cook breakfast, wash their dishes, and the whole lot went down the drain.”
The long-term resident founded the Friends of
Rainbow Bay Society and said many locals shared his frustration. A campervan parked beside Flagstaff Beach (Duranbah) on the Queensland-NSW border.(ABC Gold Coast: Tom Forbes)
“What about the people that are paying $3,000 a week to stay in Rainbow close by, and they drive to the beach to take their kids out for two or three hours and they can’t find a parking spot,” Mr Tsikleas said.
“That’s hardly fair.”
Using toilets ‘not a given’
Bernie McGuiness moved to Rainbow Bay in 2009 and said the location was ideal for campers because the council provided them with all of the facilities they needed.
“They’ve got barbecues, hot water, toilets and showers,” he said.
“They come here, basically live here, cook their meals, and hopefully they use the toilets. But that’s not a given.”
Mr McGuiness said the City of Gold Coast council had laws prohibiting illegal camping but they were not being enforced.
“We complain about it but all we get is excuses about ‘we’re understaffed’ or ‘we can’t do much about it unless we knock on their door and they respond’,” he said.
“The campers know this and they ignore the rules.”
Rainbow Bay residents say this white camper van has been parked on Snapper Rocks Road for three weeks.(ABC Gold Coast: Tom Forbes) ‘They have to be caught sleeping’
Gold Coast councillor Gail O’Neil said she was aware of the issue, but illegal camping was difficult to prove.
“I’m not sure it’s a huge problem in normal times, but certainly in holiday times we see a greater degree of illegal camping,” she said.
“We have a local law that prohibits illegal camping but they do have to be caught out sleeping there.”
Mr Tsikleas said many illegal campers used the border to their advantage by continually crossing between Queensland and New South Wales
“There are cross-border issues because the Tweed Shire Council and the City of Gold Coast are the exact opposite in their policing of it,” he said.
“Tweed Shire, they have got signs up where they’re not allowed to stay, not allowed to park, and they do enforce it through the police.
“The Gold Coast have got a local law authority, but for the last month or so it doesn’t seem to exist for some reason.”
Cr O’Neil said council would introduce new restrictions on beachside parking on weekends and
public holidays between 9:00am and 5:00pm from February 1. A City of Gold Coast sign notifying people that parking restrictions apply from 1 February. (ABC Gold Coast: Tom Forbes)
“At least during the day we will get that turnover so someone can’t stay there all day,” she said.
Drivers will be allowed to park for three hours on
Marine Parade and four hours on Snapper Rocks Road at Rainbow Bay.
On Pacific Parade at Currumbin, drivers will be allowed to park for three hours.
A council spokeswoman said people found illegally camping were given a formal warning and then they could be fined $667.