News

Caravan park owners frustrated at impact of free rest areas

Monte Olsen of Kin Kora Village Caravan and Residential Home Park is frustrated by free rest areas affecting his business.
Monte Olsen of Kin Kora Village Caravan and Residential Home Park is frustrated by free rest areas affecting his business. Luka Kauzlaric

SEVERAL caravan park owners are outraged with the lack of support they are getting from all levels of government and want rest areas to stop being a byword for free camping.

Last week member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd suggested there was nowhere to go for caravanners.

"Up to this point in time we can't offer them (grey nomads) any facilities. The closest thing we can say to them is to go out to the Calliope River or the Gladstone Showgrounds, because those are the only two places we've got," Mr O'Dowd said.

Several caravan park owners have registered their outrage at the comments, insisting there is room at their parks.

"Maybe elected representatives for the people of Gladstone could support their local business and open up their eyes to what's right in front of them," Kin Kora Village manager Monte Olsen said.

RELATED:

>> Concern Gladstone is missing out on grey nomad dollars

>> Park manager agrees costs are too high

>> Once again there's room for travellers in Gladstone caravan parks

"Gladstone is a great place to live and welcomes visitors. It's a pity our elected members aren't sending visitors in the right direction."

He, along with several other operators, said their businesses were being hurt by people staying for long periods in council-sanctioned 'rest stops' instead of spending up in caravan parks.

I wouldn't mind if these areas were policed and a fee was actually charged after a while.

"The term 'rest area' has changed over the last 10 years to 'free camping' and is spreading like a disease throughout this great country of ours," Mr Olsen said.

They say the council has been lax in policing a 48-hour rest limit at the sites.

"I wouldn't mind if these areas were policed and a fee was actually charged after a while," Tannum Beach Caravan Village manager Colin Anderson said.

"But to have to compete against something that's free and something I'm partially paying for through rates…it's pretty disappointing.

"There's spare capacity all over the place at the moment and that's only going to come down as the LNG projects draw down, but we still have this image that the parks are full of workers."

In response, the council insisted that they did enforce a time limit at the rest areas.

"Council local laws officers regularly patrol this area and this activity is supported by private security company during peak camping seasons," Mayor Gail Sellers said in a statement.

Mr O'Dowd has not yet responded to a request for comment.

Campers bludge on 48-hour ruling

SPEAKING to several locals and holiday-makers at the Calliope rest area on Tuesday, the evidence, at least anecdotally, seems to suggest that people are staying more than 48 hours per stay.

Some were only staying for a couple of days at the rest area, but plenty were staying for longer.

"We're not really putting any sort of limit on it," one person said. "We might stay here for about a week."

A sign warning visitors of the 48-hour limit.
A sign warning visitors of the 48-hour limit. James McGrath

Several people The Observer spoke to seemed unaware that there was a 48-hour time limit on people staying at the site.

"I haven't seen anybody around to enforce that, to be honest," another caravanner said.

When informed of the 48-hour limit, several people questioned the rule entirely.

It's just an Australian tradition to be able to go down to a river and camp for a while.

"That's a bit silly, there's not that many people here at the moment so we're not hurting anyone by staying," one woman said.

"It's just an Australian tradition to be able to go down to a river and camp for a while."

She added that during the peak season the site was full, and while it wasn't strictly enforced, etiquette dictated that people stayed for no more than a few days.

Several also noted that caravan parks in town were "too expensive", and that they could not compete with the free facilities being offered.

Rest areas in the region

  • Calliope River
  • Benaraby River
  • Granite Creek

Topics:  business, caravan, gladstone region, ken o dowd, tourism



"Melbourne-like" cafe opens in Gladstone today

ALL HANDS ON DECK: Grand opening of Fresh Fix Café on Goondoon St.

"It's like Melbourne with their lane ways"

"Don't trust indicators”: Driver trainer's message on roundabouts

Candita Hamblin explains why roudnabouts are so problematic amongst Gladstone drivers.

Indicators can't be trusted on some roundabouts.

Local Partners

Lady Gaga confirms Super Bowl show

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga to perform in coveted spot

Girls actors give emotional tributes to hit show

Actor Allison Williams

Actors farewell smash hit HBO show Girls after six seasons

Janet Jackson's pregnancy is 'best thing'

Janet Jackson

Janet Jackson can't wait to become a mum

Jay Z signs two-year movie and TV deal

Rapper Jay Z

Rapper Jay Z has signed a television and movie deal

Nowhere to Hyde: Matt Nable is Australia's man in demand

Matt Nable stars as Detective Gary Hyde in the TV series Hyde & Seek.

NABLE returns to the small screen amidst busy film work.

Marvel's Luke Cage S1E7: Manifest review

Mike Colter in a scene from the TV series Marvel's Luke Cage. Supplied by Netflix.

*WARNING: spoilers if you haven't seen Marvel's Luke Cage*

Beach-side real estate starts at $85k on Fraser Coast

HERVEY BAY REAL ESTATE: You can buy this townhouse in Scarness for under $300k.

Live your beach-living dream locally.

$40million hotel, shops development project for Mackay

Mt Pleasant hotel and retirement accommodation, proposed at 194-202 Malcomson St.

$40m development to take Mackay to 'the next level'

'Flex muscles': Gladstone suburb drops $120K

BUYERS are scooping unprecedented deals by “flexing their muscles at the table”

Few bright lights for property after mining downturn

The Gladstone Regional Council wants associated LNG companies like Bechtel to be apart of the EIS housing accommodation strategy from the outset of the projects and not mid-way through.

Tannum Sands continues to write its own property success story

Property 200m from ocean selling for just over $100K

BEACHCOMBER PARK: Work has started on a new $19.2 million development at Toogoom.

The estate's developer is offering huge discounts for early buyers.

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'