By ADRIAN MILLER
CAMPING at Diggers Headland looks set to return to the holiday menu.
The NSW Lands Minister, Tony Kelly, has written to the Clarence Valley Council Mayor, Ian Tiley, instructing council to overturn its ban on camping at the Headland.
Mr Kelly has apparently told the council that camping 'must' be allowed to continue until such time as this activity is no longer supported by the general community.
That conclusion is to be reflected in any new plan of management for the coastal reserve.
At its February meeting council banned camping before a review of the plan of management was conducted, which allows camping during Easter and Christmas holidays.
The Department of Lands had earlier advised council that decision should be reversed, but council voted against that advice in March. But Mr Kelly's latest letter said camping had to be reinstated.
His letter is said to advise council that he is concerned that council's decision was in breach of the reserve's existing plan of management.
"Council, in its capacity as reserve trust manager, must carry out and give effect to the existing plan as required by the Crown Lands Act 1989," he said.
Dennis Darke, who has spent nearly every Christmas at Diggers over the last 20 years, said he was overjoyed at the news.
"We're extremely happy because we were very distressed when council decided to remove camping straight away without community consent," he said.
Kris Capra, who has camped at Diggers Headland nearly every year since 1988, said it was a great result.
"It's great news because there were a lot of devastated people when we heard council wanted to stop camping," he said.
"People we go with have been going there for 17-18 years and I know a lot of people go back there every year just so they can spend time with the same families."
Mr Capra said the council's decision was not the wish of the majority of people.
"It would have been a shame to see these people come out on top because of the nasty and vocal way they went about trying to ban it," he said.
Council's acting general manager George Cowan said council would investigate the matter soon.
"Council will be considering the Minister's instructions over the next couple of days," he said.
"We have our normal schedule of committee meetings next Tuesday ... and we will try and advise people involved before Easter so they can make the necessary arrangements."