Illegal campers at popular destination could be fined $2,500

CAMPERS who don't BYO loo and poop in the river at this popular camping spot could be fined.

A fence and gate will block access to private land at Hills Crossing Reserve, Borallon after landholders complained of 'significant environmental damage caused by anti-social behaviour and unauthorised camping'.

Somerset Regional Council is moving forward with a plan to restrict access to the popular camping spot after police became involved in November.

Work started this week and will take five weeks before the site is completely secure.

When the changes are in place, anyone caught trespassing on the land could be fined up to $2,500 or be sentenced to jail in more serious cases.

Residents have complained of campers leaving rubbish, using the Brisbane River as a toilet, lighting fires and using bottles as shooting practice.

Pine Mountain and District Historical Society secretary Elaine Peet said the site was never a designated camping area.

"It's a problem when they take bikes and four wheel drives and do all sorts of wheelies, use the river as a toilet and leave their rubbish behind," Ms Peet said.

"It is not normally local people who are anti-social there but other who use it are more anti-social.

"They put tins and bottles in the water and used them as target practice, it makes a sensational splash when they hit them and they also light fires.

>> Campers locked out of popular weekend destination

"They have to close it for health and safety issues. If there was an accident there, the rate payers would have to foot the bill."

Ms Peet said the community supported Somerset Regional Council, Seqwater, Queensland Police Service and Department of Natural Resources and Mines taking steps to block off the area.

"The problem with it is there are no toilets, amenities or facilities and people are using the river as a toilet. Because of hygiene issues and the fact it is private property, it is not to be used as a camping area," she said.

Hills Crossing Reserve history


Pine Mountain & Districts Historical Society president Len Mahon, with his wife Mary and sister Elaine Peet, expects to welcome hundreds of people to the 150th anniversary of settlement weekend celebration on September 22 and 23. Photo: David Nielsen / The Queensland Times
Pine Mountain and District Historical Society secretary Elaine Peet David Nielsen

THE land and river bank at Hills Crossing Reserve is still used as the last point of a stock route, allowing farmers to cross their cattle during the dry season.

Ms Peet can remember using the crossing on her horse, on the way to picnics when she was a child, some 60 years ago.

She tells of her and her friends packing their lunch in the school bags - but they always took rubbish with them.

She said complaints about mis-use of the area had risen in line with population growth in the Pine Mountain, Borallon and Fernvale suburbs.

"I have lived in this area all my life and they used to use it as a stage coach crossing until they opened the road and everyone went through Fernvale. It is part of a designated crossing for cattle and it is still used as a stock route, and stock use it to drink water. It's still open in droughts to anyone who wants to move cattle," she said.

"My generation always used it and rode our horses but we always took rubbish with us and nobody minded.

"It's a bone of contention and has been forever, but not when I was a child when I was growing up.

"It has become a rural residential area and more and more people are moving here. Previously when it was a rural area, it wasn't a problem."