Wagga Wagga City Council will begin to clean up Wilks Park primitive camping ground this week in preparation for its re-opening.
Following the flooding events in October and November, the park has been left closed to adequately dry out.
The clean-up will include leveling some areas within the park, removing rubbish, and adjusting the temporary levee at the entrance to the park so that caravans can still enter the park while maintaining the levee height.
This week will see the reinstatement of the boundary that separates the park from adjoining Crown Land, replacing the damaged fence line with concrete landscaping blocks.
The opening date for the campground is yet to be determined.
Due to the long-term risk of flooding, the conditions of stay that are applicable to the primitive camping ground will be again in force when the park re-opens, with rangers tasked with monitoring the area daily.
Enforcement will be by means of advisory notices being handed to non-compliant users in the first instance. After non-compliance with a notice, penalties can be issued and, if necessary, a request made to NSW Police for assistance to move on those individuals in breach of stay conditions.
Wilks Park is a designated primitive camping area with restrictions that include a 72-hour limit on the length of stays, and that any accommodation should be self-contained. A full list of the conditions of use are displayed on a sign at the entrance to the park.
The definition of self-contained vehicles is: a vehicle that meets the requirements for the holding capacity for fresh, grey and black water, as well as storage capacity for garbage waste. The park operations document also specifies that “The conditions of use specified upon entry to the Wilks Park will be enforced by Council’s Ranger Services on a as needs and complaints basis”. A penalty notice may be issued for the offence to fail to comply with the terms of this notice erected by Wagga Wagga City Council under Section 632 of the Local Government Act 1993.
Council has been working closely with the NSW Government’s Department Community and Justice (DCJ), which is the lead agency providing homelessness support, and other agencies to support community members who were staying at the park and were impacted by the flooding.
Council is confident that residents are being fully supported in finding other accommodation but will continue to closely liaise with DCJ to ensure alternative accommodation options are provided through the relevant agencies to those in genuine need.
Complaints have recently been lodged with Council as the land manager to clean up the site. Liaison has occurred with DCJ who have confirmed by map and email what can be cleaned up and removed by Council.