Meander Valley Council ticks off on Bracknell camp ground

CAMPING: Mayor Craig Perkins said the ground would be operated by an independent group. Picture: Paul Scambler
CAMPING: Mayor Craig Perkins said the ground would be operated by an independent group. Picture: Paul Scambler

The Meander Valley Council wants to open a permanent camping ground at the Bracknell Recreation Ground. 

Forwarded by councillor Ian Mackenzie, the proposed camping area would cost $3 a night for self-contained caravans and RVs and $10 a night for tents and other campers. 

The ground had been used in the past by campers for free, however the council has stopped allowing free camping on its own property. 

This was in line with directions from the 2012 state government that suggested free camping on council-owned land was in violation of National Competition Policy.

Cr Mackenzie said it was time for the council to charge a nominal fee to stay within the bounds of the national guidelines. 

“There has been a wide range of communication and anecdotal evidence from businesses and community members as to the benefits that campers have brought to their communities,” he said.

“There is also anecdotal evidence and a widely accepted view from the Bracknell Community that campers offer security and prevent vandalism the river reserve area.”

Council officers will now put together a planning application for the new business, which will include an independent assessment of the plan.

Mayor Craig Perkins said the council would also need to find a community group or independent business to manage the operation. 

Currently the recreation ground is managed by the Bracknell Recreation and Hall Committee. 

“[We’ll look at] working with one of the local organisations to take management of it,” he said. 

“I understand [Cr Mackenzie] has spoken to many people in the community and they’ve given a lot of support.” 

The council has copped criticism over the past month for its move to clamp down on free camping throughout the municipality. 

Many have said campers generate significant economic activity, however the council has pointed out that it is likely illegal to offer free camping on council land.

The Local Government Association of Tasmania recently wrote to the state government asking for clear guidance on the issue.