Camping causing angst

Bordertown has become a hot spot for travellers camping for free as they pass through the town. 

But Bordertown Caravan Park owner David Petersen believes that free camping sites and services are a waste of ratepayers’ money, and deter people from his business. 

Travellers are legally allowed to camp at the Mundulla Showgrounds, Bordertown Recreation Lake, Poocher Swamp Rest Area and Brimbago Rest Area.

In some of these locations there are toilets, barbecues and rubbish bins available for visitors to use.

Mr Petersen said the appealing nature of free camping and facilities were stopping people from visiting the caravan park, which hurt his business. 

“The council provided a free camping area right near the caravan park, it’s pretty much my direct competition.

“What if they opened a place that provides free coffee right near one of the local cafes?”

Tatiara District Council CEO Anne Champness said RV free camping was originally set up in Mundulla, but people who drive RVs will often park anywhere. 

“People set it up wherever they like, the lake is attractive and that’s where they end up parking.

“If we enforced that people can’t stay at the lake, people will drive down the road and park somewhere else,” Ms Champness said. 

Ms Champness also said RV owners are fully self contained and are not looking to stay in the caravan park.

“There is a fair bit of research that people who drive RVs will not go to caravan parks because that’s not what they want.”

“They are not the customers of the caravan park- they are a different target group.

“They have their power and toilets so they aren’t looking to pull into a powered caravan park site.”

Mr Petersen said he was also concerned about the footprint that campers leave when they are passing through.

“The issue is all the rubbish these people leave,” he said.

“They leave heaps of rubbish by the lake and we pay for it to be cleaned up through our council rates.”

Ms Champness said the Tatiara District Council had not noticed an increase in the amount of dumped rubbish at the recreation lake. 

“There seems to be an increase in waste in the town overall, but not in specific spots,” she said.

“We can’t say there’s been a massive increase in rubbish being dumped at the recreation lake.”

The council was not able to comment on any direct business impact on the caravan park caused by free camping.

“I don’t know his figures and statistics to be able to comment on that,” Ms Champness said.