Concern Gladstone is missing out on grey nomad dollars

THERE are fears Gladstone could miss out on a huge slice of tourist dollars simply because it costs too much to establish a caravan park in town.

Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd said Gladstone was missing out on a huge opportunity to cash in on the grey nomad dollar as a way to diversify the local economy.

Caravan park manager agrees costs are too high, but new park is not needed

"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.

"It costs a tremendous amount of money to get one up and running.

"I've been told it can cost about $35,000 per site to develop a caravan park above the acquisition of the land, so if you count that up that's a pretty big commitment for an operator to get one up and running.

"I think it's essential that the price to develop the parks come down, otherwise we'll be stuck with the way it is."

Caravan Parks Association of Queensland chief executive Ron Chapman said trying to get a caravan park development approved was enormously difficult given the costs involved, pointing the finger largely at local government for the price hikes.

"Yes, it is getting really hard to set up new caravan parks because of the cost of it," Mr Chapman said.

"Local government, headworks charges and things like that can quite easily make it unviable. It varies council to council as to what charges there are, and most charges do come at a local authority level.

"You wouldn't build one for $30,000 per site, that's getting to a level where it's unviable."

Visitors to Southern Great Barrier Reef region (inc Gladstone) to September 2013:

  • Domestic: 1.5 million (down 11.7%)
  • International: 127,000 (down 3.9%)
  • Source: Tourism Queensland

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