Camping, and particularly the impacts of unregulated camping on the Island continues to be one (if not the key) issue being raised by the community. The camping issue is a complicated one because it involves different stakeholders taking responsibility and working together. In general the approach may involve any and all of the following:
Understanding the all the issues in detail so we can build an evidence-based strategy.
Analysing where the campers come from and how best to communicate expectations with respect to the disposal of human and domestic waste, respect for nature, and so on.
Working together with the ecosystem of stakeholders to reinforce the strategy.
Develop a genuine relationship (e.g. through the development of a pledge or code of conduct) with the campers so that they can learn about and better understand their impact.
Providing clear information in different formats, and at different times during the visitor's journey, about what is acceptable and not acceptable behaviour.
As the Islander Way project unfolds, will be assisting Council and Parks in developing actions to address camping. In January, for instance, we will be running a workshop to design a pledge or code of conduct and an implementations strategy that seeks to influence visitor behaviour. More details will be confirmed soon. In the meantime read our post on pledges.
In the short term, questions have been raised about what measures are in place to deal with camping this summer. The Council provided an update this week which we share below:
The Island community in general is concerned about the disposal of campervan waste and where visitors are choosing to camp overnight. It is important that Council, stakeholders and the community, work together to provide solutions. Council and Parks are working together to provide appropriate camping locations across the Island. Council is responsible for Council land; Parks is responsible for all Parks and Crown land. Council and Parks take the issue of where people are camping very seriously. Unfortunately, it is not possible to have one rule for our community and another for visitors with respect to where camping is allowed. It would be helpful for community members to provide photographs and locations to Council and Parks of where rubbish is being dumped, where illegal camping is happening and where trees are being felled so we can understand where and why. It may be that more facilities are required at these locations. Parks have a ‘leave no trace’ principal on Parks managed land and Council provides several locations to deposit waste, with 2 transfer stations open 24 hours and Whitemark Landfill. A dump ezy station is provided at Whitemark Showgrounds for campervans to empty waste. A camping flyer was created early this year in collaboration with Parks, to inform visitors of where overnight camping is allowed and where day only use is permissible. The flyer also contains the locations of all public bbq, toilet, shower and dump-ezy locations across the Island.
Communicating the message
After recent conversations with Bass Strait Freight, this flyer will be emailed to visitors along with their boat tickets to provide pre arrival camping information. Parks have also shared a link from their website to Flinders Camping information on the Council website. Some signage will also be upgraded to reflect these changes. Council plan to update our visitor information app in the future to enable voluntary financial contributions that would be used towards upgrading recreational and camping facilities.
This upcoming season, Council will be upgrading basic facilities at Holloway Park and Whitemark Showgrounds to cater for camping visitors. This will include camping, toilets, camp kitchen and some shower facilities. These upgrades will be managed in a staged approach and dependant on visitation levels in future years as travel options throughout Australia potentially expand back to overseas and wider mainland opportunities.
Read the story in the North-Eastern Advertiser: The Flinders Island to Bridport ferry operator says it will work with the Flinders Council to help educate passengers intending to camp on the island.