Proposal to allow free camping again at Bracknell River Reserve

Camping on the banks of the Liffey River at Bracknell could soon be re-opened.  

Meander Valley councillor Ian MacKenzie plans to move a motion at Tuesday’s meeting asking for the council to install an “honesty box” system for the campers at Bracknell River Reserve. 

Campers would be required to pay $3 per night under the system.

Free camping was banned by the council in November last year after complaints were made from locals about the legality of the practice.

According to the 2012 Review of Council Recreational Vehicle Overnight Camping Services, it is illegal for councils to allow free camping on council-owned land. 

Since the ban, Cr MacKenzie has been attempting to find a way to allow campers back on the site.

“I don’t want the businesses of Bracknell to miss the next, or future, tourism seasons while all levels of government reside over this issue,” Cr MacKenzie said in the motion.

“[The] council has received a number of statutory declarations from the community members of Bracknell all stating that this has always been a camp site for over 25 years or more.

“I believe this provide sufficient evidence that existing use rights currently exist.”

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However, the council’s general manger Martin Gill has recommended the council not support the motion. 

“Council officers understand the intent of the motion but do not support it at this time,” Mr Gill said in the agenda.

He said it would be “premature” to take any action to allow camping at the reserve until a number of reviews had been complete. Mr Gill also said the motion did not align with previous council decisions. 

The $3 price tag was chosen because it was an average. The council considered the economic regulator’s recommendation of $6 and neighbour councils who charge nothing. The meeting will be held at 1.30pm. 

I don’t want the businesses of Bracknell to miss the next, or future, tourism seasons while all levels of government reside over this issue.

Ian MacKenzie