Tourism win: Campers allowed overnight stays

TOURISM in Wingham in has had a win after overnight parking by self-contained vehicles (SCV) at Wingham Foreshore Recreation Reserve was officially approved by council.

A recommendation that council endorse overnight camping by SCV at the reserve was passed with no opposition from councillors at last Wednesday’s Greater Taree City Council ordinary meeting.

Wingham Advancement Group requested council consider approval for overnight parking by self-contained vehicles at Wingham’s riverside reserve without charge because of its positive effect on the local economy.

The council report stated that while the 2008 management plan for the Wingham Foreshore Recreation Reserve did not endorse the promotion of overnight stays by SCVs, it has been common practice for more than five years.

Taken into consideration was the fact Wingham Advancement Group members supported visitors by handing out information on emergency contacts, keeping the area clean and tidy, and opening the Central Park and Wingham Riverside Reserve toilets at 6.30am.

It was also noted that the presence of ‘grey nomad’ visitors at the reserve had significantly reduced vandalism, graffiti and anti-social behaviour, particularly so since WAG encouraged people to report offenders to the police.

Council has placed the proposal to formalise overnight parking on public exhibition for 28 days.

Subject to no significant objection, it intends to amend the plan of management for the Wingham Foreshore Recreation Reserve to allow overnight parking by SCVs.

“Providing there are no particular issues raised, overnight stays of self-contained vehicles will be approved in the area,” Greater Taree City Council’s executive leader for service delivery, Ron Posselt said.

Mr Posselt explained the feedback period is a precautionary measure in case a segment of the community has concerns and have not yet heard about the issue.

Council said a public safety incident where a power cord was dangerously connected from the barbecue area prompted them to erect ‘not camping’ signs at the reserve.

Wingham Advancement Group was proactive and vocal in its lobbying for overnight stays to be reinstated at the reserve because they feared a ban would have a negative impact on the local economy.

The no camping signs will still remain because camping on the reserve is not allowed, however, signs indicating the area can be used for overnight parking of SCVs are expected to be installed after the public exhibition period is over.

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