Erecting a fence or barrier to separate foreshore campers and beachgoers and allow the camping season to begin sooner has been dismissed by Mornington Peninsula Shire Council as impractical.
CEO John Baker said the council and State Government had discussed “ways we might separate campers from the general public, but currently there are no workable solutions”. “We will continue to work with the Government on this issue and would welcome any further advice or support it may offer,” Mr Baker said.
Nepean state Labor MP Chris Brayne did not respond to questions on whether he would support a fence or whether it was practical. “Caravan parks and campgrounds can now open across Victoria subject to gathering restrictions, and camping in parks, forests and reserves is allowed,” Mr Brayne said in a statement. “Decisions around the management of these sites are ultimately the responsibility of the land manager – in this case the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council. I’ll continue to speak with the CEO regarding this over the coming days and weeks.”
As Mornington Peninsula Magazine previously reported, the council postponed the start of the season until February after consideration of the Government’s pandemic roadmap and to ensure the health and safety of all Victorians, warning of a potential transmission risk from people using shared toilet and shower blocks.
Mornington Peninsula Regional Tourism Board chairwoman Tracey Cooper said her organisation was unsure how practical it would have been for authorities to manage a fence separating campers from beachgoers.
Mr Baker said the council would monitor the situation and review its decision to postpone camping if the Government’s health advice changed and the council felt camping could go ahead earlier in a safe manner. “It was a difficult decision but the only one we felt we could make under the current circumstances.”
Foreshore camping usually attracts 14,000-16,000 campers annually to the Peninsula. It has been estimated the postponement will cost the council about $500,000 in lost fees.