Council tells camel operators to stay put

Glenn CordingleyBroome Advertiser

The three camel operators on Cable Beach have got the hump after a request to switch their tours in the opposite direction fell on deaf ears.

The owners, John Geappen of Red Sun Camels, Broome Camel Safaris’ Alison Bird and Steve Madden from Sundowner Camel Tours, wanted to move their trains from north of the rocks to the concrete access ramp at the Broome Surf Life Saving Club.

The trio want to run their businesses south of that point for a maximum of 1.5km because they believe the beach area they use has become too busy and exposed rocks are making treks treacherous.

Mr Geappen argued the camels were competing with too many vehicles and were often chased by dogs on that section of beach.

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He said customers were also being exposed to an area where nudists gathered. The operators wanted the move to become part of their new licences, which are due to be considered soon.

Mr Geappen suggested that a 30-day trial be considered to test the proposal, with the ultimate aim of altering the Shire of Broome council’s existing policy position and allow camel tours south of the rocks.

Previous requests to do the same have been rejected by officers dating back to the early 2000s. A Shire officer agenda report said the area between the surf club and 500m north of the Gantheaume Point rocks was a vehicle-prohibited area, popular with tourists and dog walkers.

“Introducing the camel tours into this area would create congestion and give rise to significant conflicts with other beach users, particularly if each of the camel tours were to operate through this area twice a day, as they currently do north of the rocks,” he said.

Councillors last week unanimously voted to keep the camel tours where they are.

Mr Geappen said that was not necessarily the end of the matter and hinted he may appeal the decision to the State Administrative Tribunal. “I believe we put forward a very good case and have good grounds to appeal to the SAT,” he said.

“It appears council has given little consideration to the submission provided by the three current licence holders.”

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