‘Disappointing’: Campground decision made without notice
FOLLOWING the shock closure of the region's campgrounds last week, a tourism operator has spoken out about the huge financial impact it has had on the region.
Curtis Ferry Services owner Adam Balkin said it was disappointing to hear Gladstone Regional Council had decided to close all of the region's campgrounds without prior notice.
"It's very disappointing, we've been trying to build the Gladstone brand over the years and moving away from Gladstone the industrial city to Gladstone the powerhouse of Queensland," Mr Balkin said.
"I understand council has to be compliant to the rules, it's just disappointing how it was shut after being operating for a month."
Last Friday, Gladstone Regional Council announced its decision to close all council managed campgrounds until further notice, with the decision coming into effect on Tuesday.
The decision was made in order to meet public health direction.
Mr Balkin said the decision was made without any consultation with tourism stakeholders.
He said the decision affected his own business.
"Absolutely it affects my business...we can't take campers to Curtis or Facing Island," he said.
As a result of the campground closures, Mr Balkin said the region was losing more than $10,000 daily per campground.
"The average visitor overnight spends in the Gladstone region $65 a night," he said.
"On Monday night there was 150 people at the free camp at Calliope River, so that's just under $10,000 on one campground in economic stimulus for the region.
"It's not a few dollars, it's tens of thousands that's not coming in the region."
Mr Balkin said he met with council on Wednesday to identify ways some campgrounds could reopen.
"The wheels are in motion, how fast the wheels turn is a different thing," he said.
"We need to get a plan and the wheels need to turn quickly to reverse but the damage has been already been done to the brand.
"Hundreds and thousands of dollars will be spent to get that brand back on point."
Gladstone Regional Council was contacted for comment.