Daily News coverage of the issue from November 28.
Daily News coverage of the issue from November 28.

Free Dalveen, Allora camping to stay after council backflip

COUNCILLORS have back-flipped on a decision to charge a $10 fee to campers at parks in Dalveen and Allora.

The unpopular decision, passed at the November council meeting, would have seen campers at Dalveen and Dalrymple Creek Reserve pay via an honesty box system.

Cr Jamie Mackenzie moved a motion to overturn the decision at yesterday's meeting in Warwick.

Cr Mackenzie said Allora residents in particular were ropable about the decision.

"Free campers certainly spend money in the local area," he said.

"Free campers generally don't like paying for council boxes but they're more happy to open their wallet for not-for-profit groups."

The outspoken councillor said there had been no indication of the cost or benefits of having the honesty boxes in place.

Cr Mackenzie's motion to bring back free camping had widespread support, with councillors voting 6-3 in favour.

Among the supporters was Cr Vic Pennisi, who said his concern was that no one knew of the true cost to council.

Cr Pennisi suggested council discuss options through the park rationalisation process.

"During the park rationalisation process the Dalveen community said they wanted to be part of the operations of the park," he said.

"I think we got the cart before the horses on this issue." Other issues raised by councillors included theft and vandalism of the honesty boxes and safety of council staff.

While Allora-based Cr Glyn Rees said he understood the concerns of councillors, he believed a voluntary charge for campers wasn't a "big demand".

"I am more than well aware of the economic benefit of campers and campervan travellers. But there are costs and I don't think it all should be ignored," he said.

"Council has been maintaining that park for years - the toilet we have there comes at a significant cost."

There were examples of the camping being misused, according to Cr Rees, who said vegetable pickers had been showering and washing their clothes on site. Cr Rees also raised concerns about community groups running the parks.

"Community groups in Allora are already dealing with significant workloads in running their own organisations," he said.

"I am not sure any of the groups I am aware of have the person power to make the commitment involved."

Mayor Peter Blundell and Cr Neil Meiklejohn also voted against the return to free camping.

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