‘That’s bananas’: Illegal beach camp has vegie patch
AN ILLEGAL camper at Ellis Beach is showing no sign of leaving with a vegie patch and banana trees now flourishing in her unsanctioned yard.
The seaside shanty has been set up for months as the Department of Transport and Main Roads has taken no apparent action despite pleas from residents.
Its set-up is becoming increasingly well established as the months drag on, but one fact cannot be ignored - a tent is no match for a cyclone.
Division 9 Cairns regional councillor Brett Olds has tried repeatedly to get the department to take action but says he has hit brick walls.
"That's bananas," Cr Olds said.
Now he has started to think outside the box.
"If TMR are going to continue to refuse to do their job and just let this person stay, then I'll try to get a planning officer to go by and check that the structure is cyclone rated and meets Q100 requirements.
"And they can make sure the wastewater treatment and stormwater run-off are all compliant for them, too, just as any other developer or property owner would be forced to comply with.
"We can't have different rules for people, now can we?
"The state needs to sort themselves out and fix this situation as it is only getting worse."
Cr Olds said there was a simple fix but the department seemed reluctant to do anything.
"If they were going to move her, they would have done it already," he said.
"The police are willing to do it but they just have to get the request.
"It's beyond a joke - if you let one person do it, then all you do is encourage more bad behaviour."
The growing banana plant could have its first crop by the time the department finally takes action.
"This is a complex matter and we are working through it as quickly as possible," a Department of Transport and Main Roads spokesman said.
"We continue to work with agencies on enforcement of the new legislation regarding camping near state-controlled roads."
Motorists can use rest areas for 24 hours but long-term camping is prohibited.
The maximum fine is $2669, or $266 for on-the-spot fines issued by authorised officers - none of which are moving in on the Ellis Beach camp.
Originally published as 'That's bananas': Illegal beach camp has vegie patch