‘ENFORCEMENT STAGE’: Police warn trespassers will be caught
Local police have warned those trespassing on private property at Norval Park in Yandaran over the Easter weekend will be caught.
While trespassing offences at the site have declined, Officer in Charge of South Kolan Police Station Sergeant Matt Swann said people illegally entering the area was still an 'ongoing issue'.
Police commenced their operation to stop trespassing on the private property near the park in July last year.
Sergeant Swann said the operation began with education, but they were now in the "enforcement stage".
"There are not just criminal matters in relation to the trespasses but also environmental factors as well," he said.
"During the ongoing operation we've held up here at Norval Park we've issued a total of 29 offences where proceedings have been commenced by way of infringement notice.
"Two people have been diverted from infringement notice through to the court system and will appear in Bundaberg Magistrates Court.
"We still have 40 matters that are under investigation."
He said a number of offenders were going over the sand dunes onto the private property areas at the park.
"Over the last few years there have been instances of items being stolen including the trespassing signage," he said.
"There's also been dumping of rubbish.
"It's incredibly frustrating, we try and get the message out and do a lot of education with the community, however it's disheartening we still have to come out and enforce it so dramatically."
The private property is owned by Bundaberg Sugar who grow cane, macadamias and run cattle on the private property.
General manager for farms at Bundaberg Sugar Simon Doyle said over the years there had been damage to the infrastructure including fences being cut.
"There's been fences cut, cattle let out, trees chopped down and just a lot of damage to the environment with people driving over the sand dunes," he said.
"It's hugely disappointing, it's a beautiful part of the world and to see it damaged is heartbreaking.
"We take a fair bit of pride in what we've got up here and to see if damaged the way it has been over the years is disappointing."
Mr Doyle said the company had paid for fences to be repaired as well as signage to go up around the property.
He said it was getting hard to believe when people pleaded ignorance.
"With all the signage around it's a bit hard to accept that," he said.
Traditional owner of the land Everett Johnson said the land had cultural significance.
"There's a lot of important sites here and you can see all through this place there's evidence of Indigenous people that lived here," he said.
"It tells a story of how healthy this ecosystem was a long time ago.
"There's an abundance of bush foods and medicine's here, women used to come to this land to gather the bush foods and medicines associated with this country.
"We still come out here to access certain types of bush foods and medicines. It breaks your heart when you come through and see people doing the wrong thing."
Sergeant Swann said over the Easter weekend police will be active in the area to catch those doing the wrong thing.
"There's an infringement notice for $266 in relation to trespass that you can receive in the main or on the spot, or the matter can proceed to court," he said.
"The message is quite clear, if you are out here we want you to enjoy your weekend. If you are out here and doing the wrong thing you will be caught and there will be consequences for your actions."