MOUNT Alexander Shire councillors have approved camping ground plans in Muckleford, close to a gun range.
They have agreed with a shire officer report stating the campground is far enough away from the gun range that campers are safe.
Their vote will pave the way for improved amenities at the Woodbrook Road site.
Cr Stephen Gardner said a number of objections had centred around unauthorised camping.
"I think a lot of the plans ... for this area will accommodate and make good on these things with inspections and those sorts of things," he said.
"It should improve."
Cr Tony Cordy opposed the proposal over concerns about bushfire risks.
He said the government had spent a lot of money putting power lines underground in the area because of concerns about fire risks.
"We know campers want to light fires. So for me, it represents an increase in fire risk," he said.
"It defies all logic to allow camping in bushland to the northwest of Castlemaine. This is the area where an established fire will do serious damage to our community."
Cr Cordy also feared that a fire in that area could jeopardise operations at KR Castlemaine's factory, which is the town's largest employer.
The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning has a fire management plan for the site.
Cr Matthew Driscoll said people already had a right to camp there.
"You can't stop them," he said.
Cr Rosie Annear said DELWP had promptly followed up with at least one applicant about some concerns raised.
"That's not something that happens all of the time," she said.
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