Many months ago, the Isaac Coast council on the central coast of Queensland announced its intention to commence paid camping at St Lawrence and Carmila Beach.
Paid camping actually began on March 11, 2016, coinciding with the launch of the Parkmobile app which provides an extra payment option for smart phone users. The app can be downloaded at www.parkmobile.com.au or you can pay through the website using your credit card if you don't have a smart phone.
The Parkmobile app is not used to make bookings, merely to arrange payment once you have set up camp. There is good mobile/internet reception at both of the camping areas, which avoids the sort of problem created in a number of national parks, where lack of internet access precludes paying once you have arrived in the park.
Other methods of payment that can be used during business hours include phoning council on 1300 ISAACS (472 227) or over the counter at the council office at 36 Macartney Street, St Lawrence. The caretaker will not be accepting any payments.
The nightly fee will be $10 per vehicle, per night, with a maximum stay of 14 consecutive nights.
These two camps have been very popular with caravanners for many years, and we wonder how much the introduction of this 'user pays' system will affect the number of campers. Carmila Beach has toilets, while St. Lawrence has hot showers, toilets, town water, a dump point, barbecues and shelters.
Amanda Blines from the Isaac council advised us that local laws officers will be checking the number plates of vehicles in the campsite on a regular basis, but we are not sure what action will be taken against those who haven't paid. Depending on the degree of supervision, will we see the usual brigade of 'late arrivers/early leavers' avoiding paying the fees? We feel that the 'user pays' system is good, and saves the local rate payers from the usual cleaning, lighting, electricity and other associated costs.
Is the Parkmobile payment system the way of the future, as fees are introduced for camping in other regional council areas? How comfortable are readers using this new technology?