Business says council's free caravan park is unfair
THE owner of a local caravan park says he'll be glad when the Gladstone Showgrounds are forced to close to campers, but says that won't solve the problem of the unfair competition from Calliope River Rest Area.
CRRA, managed by Gladstone Regional Council, offers free camping to travellers for up to 48 hours.
But Monte Olsen, who owns the four-and-a-half-star Kin Kora Village Caravan and Residential Home Park said the free rest area and showgroundswere "killing" his business.
"There were 140 vans at the Calliope River Rest Area the other weekend," Mr Olsen said.
"And I get about four.
"It's all uphill battle for a local business, you can't compete against free."
Mr Olsen said he had to pay staff wages, insurance, and "sky-rocketing rates" all to have his park overlooked for free options.
He said millions of dollars were being lost in revenue, including jobs, because of free camping sites in the Gladstone region including one at Calliope and Futter Creek Camping Reserve in the Boyne Valley.
(Instead) Gladstone ratepayers pick up the bill for road resurfacing, amenities block cleaning, maintenance, garbage collection, grass slashing, and policing of long-term stays, Mr Olsen said.
Council Mayor Matt Burnett said the council had "no intention of closing down the rest stop as it provides a safe rest to travellers using the national highway".
"I have been advised by camping and caravanning organisation representatives that often those travelling sometimes like to use rest areas and at other times like to come into towns to stay," Cr Burnett said.
The CRRA has operated for more than 40 years.
There is no limit placed on the number of vehicles that can use it at any one time.