Being a Recreational Vehicle (RV) tourist brings with it certain responsibilities
Sadly, there are those travellers who do not do the right thing, and they subsequently give this industry and all RV tourists a bad name. They also make it very difficult for those who work so hard negotiating with local Councils for new and better rest areas and new dump point installations.
So we thought it timely to address some of the issues that confront us, and to hopefully get the message across to those who do not do the right thing when ‘on the road’.
In many towns across our country, water is still a very scarce commodity. Please remember that it is the local residents that pay for this water, and in many towns they are still on strict water restrictions. Always ask before filling your water tanks, and perhaps pay a couple of dollars into a local charity box. Do not wash your vehicle. Not only is this wasteful, but it is the easiest way to get the local community and the local Council offside.
Parking and camping
One of the things that cause most problems with Councils is people parking in non designated areas with no consideration for local residents. Please do not park in a manner that blocks a local resident’s view. Do not park in any area that is not signposted accordingly, and please always only stay for the maximum length of time allowed. If you are asked by a Council Ranger to move on, please do not abuse them. If fees apply to an area, please pay them. Councils have to maintain these areas, and to avoid paying fees is only abusing a privilege. When we are negotiating with a Council for a new Rest Area, we never ask that it be free. In fact, we encourage Councils to apply a nominal charge to cover maintenance costs.
Please do not hang washing out around your vehicle whilst stopped in a rest area, especially in a city environment. This creates an unsightly image, and only damages our reputation in the eyes of Councils and the general public.
If you are staying in a caravan park on a non-powered site, please do not hook up to power after dark. (Yes it happens – and it happens often!) And if you do need to connect to power after hours for a legitimate reason, then don’t argue when asked to pay for it. In fact, you should ensure that you do pay for it before having to be asked. Remember, caravan park owners are business people trying to make a living, so please don’t try and cheat them.
Another problem that we experience is people stopping overnight adjacent to a Council structure such as a camp kitchen, and then connecting their van to the power overnight. This is just abusing a privilege that the Council has provided.
Disposal of waste water
This one probably causes us more grief with Councils than any other issue. Unless you are given permission to do so by the controlling authority, NEVER discharge your grey waste onto the ground, especially if you are parked on bitumen.
Wherever possible all grey and black water waste should be discharged into a dump point. We acknowledge that this is not always possible, so in extreme cases it will need to be buried in the bush. Choose a site at least 100m away from any campsite and any watercourse. Bury waste at least 15cm (6 inches) deep, mixing the waste with soil to help decomposition. In snow, dig down into the soil, otherwise the waste will be exposed when the snow melts.
DO NOT discharge the waste directly onto the ground surface. This is nothing less than environmental vandalism, and can create serious health issues.
Please do not flush grey and black water holding tanks or their hoses with a hose attached to a potable water outlet. This can cause contamination, not just for your water, but for others using the outlet after you.
Some parks give members of RV clubs a discount off their normal park fees. Please always notify the staff on your arrival that you are a club member. If you intend to stay for a longer period, please notify them at the time when you first book in. These discounts do not apply for long term stays, but have limitations placed on them. There is no point abusing the staff at the end of your stay because you have been charged more than you ‘thought’ you should be.
RV Friendly Towns (TM)
When visiting an RV Friendly TownTM, please remember that they have had to meet a very strict criteria to be part of the scheme. However, not every RV Friendly TownTM may have exactly what you are looking for. For example, the rest area that has been provided for short term stays may not be within walking distance of the main street. It may have been established on the only land available. It is therefore inappropriate to go to the Council Chambers and abuse the Council staff because the rest area is not where you think it should be. (Yes – it does happen!)
All of these issues are based on complaints that have been received from retailers, caravan park owners, Councils and diligent RV tourists. It is sad that such a small number of people abusing the privileges allowed to us make it so hard for us to gain better facilities for all RV tourists.
It is not hard to do the right thing. We acknowledge that some people may be finding it economically difficult at the present time, but to abuse staff, to abuse Council officers, and to try and avoid paying your way is not helping this industry. We have lost rest areas due to waste being dumped on the ground. We have lost the support of some organisations due to the abusive nature of a few.
As this mobile tourist industry continues to grow, and it is the fastest growing segment of tourism in this country, we will find that we will lose rest areas and access to some wonderful campgrounds, all because a small minority of people abused the privilege provided to them.
Do the Right Thing
To enjoy this wonderful lifestyle, and to ensure that we all continue to do so, PLEASE DO THE RIGHT THING.
[This article published courtesy of the C.M.C.A.]