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Camper vans welcome in Westport, but regulation needed


Anton McNulty

CAMPER vans are welcome in Westport but bylaws will have to be introduced to ensure they have a positive experience in the town, a council meeting was told.
At the last monthly meeting of the West Mayo Municipal District, councillors called for bylaws to prevent camper vans from parking overnight in Westport town. Councillors were critical of camper vans parking in the streets of the town and outside people’s property. However, the meeting caused some unrest among the camper-van community around Ireland,  including Mayo Motor Homes,
Members of the camper van community criticised the councillors’ comments, saying that there are very few facilities in Westport for camper vans. The councillors should look at Cobh in Co Cork as an example of a progressive town, they said.

‘Open arms’
Speaking at last week’s monthly West Mayo Municipal District, Cllr Christy Hyland said that camper vans were always welcome in Westport, but that the issues of parking and regulation were valid ones.
“I want to send out the message loud and clear that we welcome camper-van tourism with open arms. They are a great addition to the tourism product locally,” Cllr Hyland said.
“We do need regulation and order, and that is where we were coming from at the last meeting. Some towns have fantastic facilities for camper vans, but as our town grows into the future we need to look at parking for camper vans and how it can be regulated.”

‘Over the top’
Director of Services, Catherine McConnell said the council would be happy to look at ways of managing the parking of camper vans while improving visitors’ experiences in the town.
“We are happy to sit down and and look at bylaws to manage camper vans. There has never been any time when camper vans have been unwelcome, but you do want those who do come to Westport to have a positive experience without causing problems for anyone else. We will be happy to take it up as a project,” she said.
Cathaoirleach of the West Mayo Municipal District, Cllr Brendan Mulroy, who had proposed introducing the bylaws, said the camper-van community’s reaction was ‘over the top’.
“We never said we did not welcome camper vans in Westport. There does need to be regulation and it is an issue which is not going to go away and we need to deal with it in the future.”