The Wingham Brush – to camp or not to camp?
Reply to – Cherie Jenkins, Wingham and Phil Jones, Tuncurry, who wrote supporting campers at The Brush Reserve.
According to The Brush regeneration expert, Dr John Stockard, that, after consulting specialists it is deemed that this area is unsuitable on a number of counts and there just isn’t the room for campers at The Brush. Nor did National Parks ever envisage such an event as the area is a threatened ecological community with the protected and threatened grey-head flying foxes.
WAG (Wingham Advancement Group) are a self appointed group who may be well intentioned but are very ill informed and self serving and who have opened up a terrible can of worms in taking it upon themselves to encourage this whole debacle.
Locals, as well as authorities, say they are not opposed to tourism, indeed, want to encourage it. But the Wingham Brush is a day-use area. It is an international tourist attraction. But visitors don’t want to come to The Brush and see a bunch of caravans and tents cluttering the place and interrupting the peaceful view.
Locals are entitled to chat to each other before they head out in the morning, or converse with locals walking their dogs on leads. Disturbing sleeping campers was never an issue for the townsfolk. It is their town and their recreation area and was never designed for camping or vehicles.
Much damage is being done to the area by campers gathering wood in the Brush and lighting illegal fires, and emptying their RV toilet facilities in the area, especially where sewerage leaches into the river.
There is a very attractive, inexpensive camping ground at the Wingham Showground, which is being upgraded with a new government grant. People who stay there, for a very modest fee, spend money in the township. Albeit few travel from Tuncurry to camp and buy $800 paintings or to go to the hairdresser, as one WAG supporter attests.
Yes, there is possibly trash left by locals more so than visitors, and youth in the Brush doing drug deals is a worry which only points to the lack of a Police presence in Wingham and the need for its return to patrol the Brush on a regular basis as well as be a local presence.
If you read carefully the article in the Manning Community News you would see these matters were addressed and there is frequently equal guilt on locals as well as some irresponsible campers.
The fact remains, campers of any description were never supposed to be at the riverside reserve, and WAG is at fault for developing this idea with no, or little, consultation (apart from WAG supporters) with the community or Council, or obtain correct permissions.
The Brush is under threat from this chaotic encouragement of inappropriate tourism in a place designated a casual daytime local setting. Damage to the site and in the Brush and the disruption to the endangered wildlife by visitors, campers and Essential Energy is currently being assessed by relevant authorities. (Ed.)