IT was a bolt from the blue for Yandaran store owner Janette Campbell, when Bundaberg Regional Council approved 10 regulated bush camping sites at Norval Park yesterday.
“It's a real shock - I thought we would be fighting for at least a few months,” Mrs Campbell said.
Her store had suffered a downturn in business after a camping ban was enforced at the park, cutting a swathe through her customer numbers.
Mrs Campbell would love to see families back at the traditional holiday spot during the Easter holidays, but said she did not expect the council to move quickly enough to make her dream a reality.
“It's definitely good news, but I'm interested to see how they will implement it,” Mrs Campbell said.
Bundaberg Region Council Mayor Lorraine Pyefinch could shed no light on how soon the camping sites would be operational.
“A booking system will be put in place, and it will be open as soon as we can organise an appropriate permit system,” Cr Pyefinch said.
“It is very good news for the businesses in the area, and families who have traditionally used the area.”
The mayor described the decision as “a compromise situation”, with campers restricted to an area away from the dunes.
“Environmental groups would have liked for us to lock it up altogether, and the campers don't have exactly what they had before,” she said.
“We had to find a middle ground, because there are very sensitive dunal areas which need to be protected.
“Caravans and motorhomes will not be allowed, just bush camping.”
After the recent removal of rocks blocking access to the beach, the site has been re-fenced.
The council was divided over fencing of the site, leading to a split vote, but Cr Pyefinch said all the councillors were in support of the land being used for camping.
“Access to the beach is clearly marked to prevent people going over the dunes and damaging them,” Cr Pyefinch said.
“The upshot of it is that council is very pleased that the planning approval process is finished, and that families will be able to legally use the area to camp.”