Campers thumb noses at rangers

Wrong side of the tracks: Illegal campers are hogging parking bays, leaving litter and using the dunes in an “unsanitary” way, but Freo council is currently powerless to move them on.

A SLIVER of land owned by the Public Transport Authority is allowing illegal campers at South Beach to thumb their noses at Fremantle council’s rangers.

The council has been getting increasing complaints that campers are hogging precious parking during summer, making noise, littering and even piddling in the park.

One resident told the Herald there were “mounting piles of rubbish under the trees.

“Over 20 camping vans are parked on the park and the nearby car park; a bus has been parked over a no-standing bay for a week,” she fumed.

But the council’s communications manager Paul Dunlop told the Herald some campers had discovered that the eastern side of the carpark was owned by the PTA and Freo’s rangers had no jurisdiction to fine them or move them on.

They’d spread that message to other travellers through social media and now each day up to 25 vans gather in the ‘safe zone’.

“It’s creating issues for visitors and locals, and it not just the parking but its also using the toilet facilities and making noise,” Mr Dunlop said.

Mayor Hannah Fitzhardinge said some of the campers hosted a DJ party on the same weekend as the Falls Festival, conning locals into thinking they’d received council permission.

Conscious that she doesn’t want police dragged away from the CBD to deal with rowdy campers, Ms Fitzhardinge has written to transport minister Rita Safiotti to help find a solution.

“As you know, South Beach is a popular recreation area for both Fremantle locals, and people from all over the metropolitan area, as well as interstate and international visitors to our city,” she wrote.

“Illegal camping is creating nuisance, noise and unsanitary use of the dunes and parklands and results in regular complaints to the City of Fremantle.

“We would like to explore the possibility of a management order, or similar no-cost arrangement, over this portion of the PTA land to enable the City to manage illegal camping and parking in this area,” Ms Fitzhardinge said.

by STEVE GRANT

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