A TOURIST has blasted Albury for its “unfriendliness” after he was told to stop camping in a van at Noreuil Park.
Barry Smith, from Newstead in central Victoria, said yesterday Albury needed to “wake up to itself” if it wanted to draw more people into the area.
He was angry that he had been kicked out of Noreuil Park after five days of camping there and complained there was no free camping in the city.
“I’ve been visiting Albury for three years now but I was told I was not welcome at Mungabareena Reserve and was also warned away from Waterview Road (off the Riverina Highway near the Wonga Wetlands),” he said.
“A ranger came banging on my door at eight in the morning, full of bad temper and demanding I leave before 10am or he’d book me.
“There was two other campervans there and we all agreed that he was rude, arrogant and had no finesse whatsoever.”
Mr Smith said he explained to the ranger that he had not seen any signs stating the area was a no camping zone, but the ranger did not care.
He is now camping on a private property on the outskirts of town and will stay for several days to visit friends.
But Mr Smith said he would not hesitate to write a letter to the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia magazine warning members of the city’s lack of free camping space.
“There are 52,000 members registered with that magazine and the majority of us are grey nomads living on a pension,” he said.
Albury’s closest free camping area is at Yackandandah.
Mr Smith said Albury would be wrong not to provide more free space for passing tourists.
“I’ve spent $1000 on a new generator and more money on groceries, new clothes and shoes,” he said.
“But once this letter gets out, me and every other member of the magazine will just bypass the town.”
Albury director of planning and economic development Michael Keys said council did not want to discourage people from camping in the city, just not on public land.
“(We’ve) received complaints from both residents and at the recent South Albury Forum in regards to illegal campers being located along the river, specifically Noreuil Park and Mungabareena Reserve,” he said.