IT’S a shame Orange City Council’s experiment with camping at Lake Canobolas has ended on a sour note for the backpackers who were shot at on Sunday.
Since the temporary primitive camping site was established in December, a steady stream of backpackers have called the lakeside location home while working on the area’s orchards.
Unfortunately council’s initiative has been marred with negative publicity including allegations the campers were trashing the grounds and being too noisy at night for nearby residents.
But overall the incidents have been relatively minor and should not deter the re-establishment of temporary camping next season or derail plans for more permanent accommodation at the lake.
It is debatable whether millions of dollars are needed to redevelop the area around the lake and Mount Canobolas.
But accommodation at the lake at all ends of the spectrum should be a priority to boost Orange’s tourism and fruit growing industries.
Whether or not the incidents reported in today’s story were racially motivated against the international backpackers or random incidents of stupidity is unclear, either way this type of behaviour is obviously unacceptable.
But such incidents can occur anywhere suggesting the camping ground itself is not the problem.
Seasonal workers are vital for Orange and so is offering them a safe and affordable place to stay.
For the sake of our orchardists let’s hope they don’t leave Orange with a bad impression.
Last picking season was also marred by hostility towards international backpackers, this time at the Colour City Caravan Park when several campers returned from Sydney to find their tents destroyed by arsonists.
Hopefully the next picking season attracts less drama and any squabbles over noise, rubbish or other problems can be stamped out without violence or intimidation.