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Illegal camping pegged as a problem
MOGENS JOHANSEN Illegal camping pegged as a problem

The Shire of Wyndham East Kimberley is urging travellers to abide by laws which prohibit camping within 20km of the town centre.

About two groups of people are moved on by rangers every day.

SWEK last week reminded the public they could be fined $200 for sleeping in vehicles, tents or swags if they were not in a designated camping area.

Fatigue, intoxication, arriving late at night or not knowing the rules were among the reasons people gave for camping illegally, the Shire said.

SWEK chief executive Gary Gaffney said people could still be fined if they camped for these reasons.

“Currently our rangers are coming up with two cases every day which result in either fines or warnings,” Mr Gaffney said.

“A lot of people caught camping illegally are on tight budgets and don’t want to pay to use our caravan parks.”

KimberleyLand Holiday Park manager Nora Gleeson said illegal campers were more of a nuisance than a financial burden because the park was already “over-full” in the peak season.

She said there were problems with illegal campers from the adjacent public park using KimberleyLand’s ablutions.

“They sneak in and use our showers and toilets,” she said.

“They jam cotton buds in our washing machines so they don’t have to pay.”

All of KimberleyLand’s powered sites were occupied last week but Ms Gleeson said the business was able to accommodate travellers if they had nowhere to stay.

Kununurra Lakeside Caravan Park manager Ray Bright said his park was full every night and there were enough customers to fill another park. SWEK development services director Nick Kearns said in 2010 the shire looked into developing a temporary caravan park for overflow in busy tourist periods but it was not financially viable.