NOT HERE: Helidon residents Lloyd and Jean Warr with Vincent Tempone at James Norman Hedges Park. The trio are opposed to the park becoming an overnight camping area. Picture: Dominic Elsome
NOT HERE: Helidon residents Lloyd and Jean Warr with Vincent Tempone at James Norman Hedges Park. The trio are opposed to the park becoming an overnight camping area. Picture: Dominic Elsome

Residents: Leave the rest stop for the truckies, not campers

RESIDENTS bordering on a Lockyer Valley park have called on the council to reverse a decision to allow overnight camping in the area.

Lockyer Valley Regional Council voted to request Transport and Main Roads to designate James Norman Hedges Park in Helidon an overnight camping area, in a move councillors hailed as “common sense”.

But a group of neighbours, who border on the park, have raised serious concerns about the plan and called for the council to reverse its decision.

Jean and Lloyd Warr have lived across the creek from the park for decades and say there has been an issue in recent years of campers abusing the area.

“One from time to time – it’s not too bad, when someone has just pulled up here and just stayed the night,” Jean said.

“But it’s the ones that come here and stay here night after night.”

She raised issues of noise safety and hygiene with repeat campers dumping rubbish, lighting fires during fire bans and disturbing residents late at night.

Meanwhile, Vincent Tempone moved next door to the Warrs 18 months ago and has similar concerns, and has had to call the police on several occasions.

Jean also asked how the council intended to police the new rule.

“My question is if you’re going to allow people to stay 24 hours, how do you know they’ve only been here 24 hours?” she asked.

The park is frequently used by truck drivers heading eastbound and Jean worries the change to overnight camping will force out the truckies.

She said backpackers and caravaners already had plenty of options to camp overnight in the Valley, but the same could not be said for truckies.

“They’re taking away one of the only areas, from about Dalby on, going eastbound where a truck can pull over and rest,” she said.

“We want them to leave it as a truck rest area, and definitely no overnight camping – for the simple reason – we can stop in any town in Australia, a truck can’t.”

Vincent agreed, with both noting they never heard the trucks arrive or leave and the drivers were never anti-social.

They also raised concerns that no consultation was conducted by the council, with both the Warrs and Mr Tempone discovering the change via the Gatton Star.

Mr Tempone agreed with Jean the decision should be overturned, but also suggested changes to be made if the council went through with the process.

These include installing a privacy wall, showers and a dump point in the park, as well as policing the time limit and upgrading the entry and exit to the Warrego Hwy.


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