A senior couple having fun camping with camper van.
A senior couple having fun camping with camper van. Moma7

Grey nomads deliver brutally frank message to CQ council

GREY nomads who love spending time at CQ's Callide Dam have urged Banana Shire Council to do away with the 48-hour camping limit at its Lake Callide Retreat.

A group of southern visitors sat in on the August 23 council meeting and took the opportunity to express their thoughts on the camping ban furore that erupted earlier in the month.

Speaking on behalf of the group, Eileen Rasmussen said they were camped at the dam when they were asked to move on by SunWater and shifted into the Lake Callide Retreat.

"We don't want to dwell on the past and what has happened in relation to the ban but we thought council would like to know how they could improve the Lake Callide Retreat to make it more enticing for grey nomads," Eileen said.

The two keys sticking points for the group werethe 48-hour camping limit on the $7 powerless sites and the distance between the retreat and theamenities block.

One of the southern visitors said hundreds of people travelled to Biloela to go redclawing and fishing at Callide Dam.

"We are not going to bother to come if two days after we arrive we have to pack up and move on," he said.

"It doesn't make it worth the effort of setting up camp, unloading the boat and setting up the fishing gear if we have to move on so quickly.

"I don't know why there has to be a time limit if we are happy to pay our $7 a night.

"But if there has to be, it should be at least a week."

Eileen said while they were out at the dam free camping, there were about 70 other vans set up.

"That's 140 people and these people, when they stay for extended periods, do spend money in town - on groceries, coffee, going out to lunch, fuel and repairs and maintenance.

"Not all of these campers are going to come back but a few changes to the new camping area at Callide andI am sure many wouldreturn."

Mayor Nev Ferrier said the installation of no camping signs and the enforcement of the ban by SunWater did catch the council on the hop.

"We were caught a little unaware," Cr Ferrier said.

"We had just opened Lake Callide Retreat and were still working through a few issues, feeling our way, when it all happened.

"We welcome this feedback and will look into what we can do to improve the facility."

Biloela resident Daryl Cupitt, who has been a long-term advocate of establishing a camping area at Lake Callide, agreed with Eileen, stating the majority of grey nomads would be happy to pay $7 a night but the 48-hour limit was a real turn-off.

"We have a great attraction at Lake Callide with the redclaw and the barra fishing," he said.

"We have to do everything we can to attract these people to stay in our area."

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