Stricter penalties will be put in place for illegal camping.
Stricter penalties will be put in place for illegal camping. Scott Powick

Cracking down on illegal camping at Chinderah

THE homeless community in Chinderah will be moved on by council officers after a decision to ban camping in the area was approved.

Tweed Shire Council voted unanimously on Thursday to no longer tolerate any camping along Chinderah Bay Dr and issue a maximum $1000 fine to any person found to be camping on any streets, parks, reserves, foreshores or car parks within the vicinity.

The decision comes after several Chinderah residents complained to council about the on-going issue of people setting up camp along Chinderah Bay Dr, specifically near the M1 end, with numbers reportedly having increased since the March floods.

Gateway Lifestyle Tweed Shores residents' committee chairman Philip Jeffels addressed council during Thursday's meeting on behalf of the 142 residents who signed a petition expressing concern for the environment.

"The use of the bush and the river as a dumping ground for rubbish and a toilet is destroying the environment in this area,” Mr Jeffels said.

"RV's have also been seen emptying their grey water and toilet tanks into the river and fires have been lit in this area, which have destroyed some of the bush.”

General manager Troy Green said the council had been working hard to address the homelessness issue in Chinderah.

"It's taken us so long because we wanted to get the proper legal advice, the proper signage (and) the proper definitions so it'll be enforceable by ourselves or the police,” Mr Green said.

Councillor Chris Cherry said council staff had worked closely with the homeless community and residents to ensure the best outcomes for everyone.

"There's been some considerable amount of time and effort put into this to try and solve the problem even though it might not have seemed like that from the outside,” she said.

"It has been a very tricky one because of the homelessness issue. I hope it's a solution that's going to be a really good way forward.”

With many more people camping on Chinderah Bay Dr since the floods due to homelessness, Mayor Katie Milne said it was important the council had a responsibility to both residents and those setting up camp in the area.

"It's hard to ascertain who are the genuine ones and not the genuine ones and to create a mechanism to treat the genuine ones fairly,” she said.

Council will implement the ban immediately, and work to assist the genuine homeless to access services.

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