A NEW free camping site has been established in Manilla, after he town lobbied to attract more tourism to town.
A patch of community land on the banks of the Namoi River, adjacent to Manilla and Dewhurst streets has been declared a freedom camping area, granting travellers a free stay in the small town.
Thirty-nine Manilla businesses and residents wrote letters of support to council on the matter.
Council voted unanimously in favour of turning the land into a freedom camping area, with Manilla-based councillor Jim Maxwell applauded the community-driven initiative.
“I have to acknowledge Frank McNamara who walked the town and all the businesses plus quite a few residences of the town and it was no small task to take on,” Cr Maxwell said.
He said it could be a boon for the community if it could “snare at least one-in-ten” caravaners and campers on their way to Bingara.
Deputy mayor Phil Betts said Manilla often missed out on the tourism Bingara attracted, but this move could help level the playing field.
“Manilla lends itself to the caravan, grey nomad aspect,” Cr Betts said.
“It has got something equally good to offer along the river and it lends itself to becoming a tourism mecca and put Manilla on the map.”
The Manilla men’s shed will become the working group tasked with maintaining the site into the future.
Council will provide waste and water services to the site and manage promotion of the site through the WikiCamps app.
Council will spend $2000 on bollards, $1000 on tap installation, $2700 on water meter installation and $1000 on bin installation.
A freedom camping site is public land which is available to campervan or motor vehicles for brief stop overs. The site typically has minimal or no facilities, such as toilets or showers.
There are 3,643 freedom camping sites in NSW and more than 10,000 Australia wide.
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