Mary River squatters on the wrong side of police, council
IT'S been a steadily growing fixture next to the Vic Olsen Bridge for nearly six months
Perched on the side of Tuchekoi Rd, along a popular recreation track, visitors to the Mary River see a makeshift campsite comprised of tents, cars and a large old bus.
The site and its squatters have attracted complaints to local police and the council.
"Look I think it's safe to say that people, myself included, don't particularly want to see them there,” Imbil's Senior Constable Bill Greer said.
"However, as far as what the police can currently do - they aren't committing any actual offences and the onus is on (the) council and the Department of Main Roads to make the push to move them along," Snr Const Greer said.
The site along the bridge is popular with visitors to the Mary Valley, with a trail leading down to the river bank making it an excellent area to launch kayaks or enjoy the water.
Visitors must pass the squatters to access the river, which is what prompted the complaints.
One squatter, who did not want to be named, said he was living in the area because he could not afford a home in Gympie.
"I don't have a spare $100,000 to spend on a house here,” he said.
Snr Const Greer said the complaints were about safety, hygiene and the appearance of the camp-site.
"People would just like to come and enjoy the area without having to see all of that,” he said.
"It really isn't very nice to look at.”
Queensland squatting legislation shows the squatters themselves are not necessarily breaking laws, but they cannot claim the land for themselves in any way.
For residential properties, squatters can try to legally claim the land after living consistently for 12 years.
This method, known as adverse possession, does not apply to Crown land.
Both Gympie Regional Council and the Department of Transport and Main Roads were contacted for comment yesterday.
A statement released late yesterday afternoon said the DTMR was, "now aware of the situation on the bridge and investigations are under way.” There was no comment from the council.