A COUNCIL plan to attract caravan and RV owners to the area will not look at rate relief for caravan parks, despite it being top of owners' list of concerns.
The council voted at a meeting this week to review its local laws, infrastructure charges and the planning scheme around camping and caravans.
Economic Development and Planning Committee chair Cr Amanda Camm said the review, to be conducted as part of an action plan to increase RV visitation to the region, would benefit both existing and new commercial operators.
She said there were no plans at this stage to extend that review to council rates for commercial camping and caravan parks but any new policy would "benefit such facilities".
"A review of our local laws, fees and various approvals, should make it easier and more affordable to provide camping and caravan facilities in our region."
Owner of the Premier Caravan Park on Nebo Rd, Bev Sharrock, responded by saying they need to reduce rates and land charges in order for caravan parks to survive.
"I've just got my rates and my land tax. Twenty-thousand dollars land tax and $18,000 rates for six months. Our park is two and a half acres," Ms Sharrock said.
"It's got out of hand, the free camping is ridiculous. The ones who do free camping don't spend money in town.
"Each year it's getting worse. This year in June we had nobody, but every free camp was bulging at the seams.
"We were booked out for July and August and now it's dead again. It'll be dead for the rest of the year. It'll be dead until next July.
"All mine have gone to Lake Elphinstone. They stay for one night, empty their toilets, fill their water tanks up, then go to Lake Elphinstone for a month. They boast about it being free.
"They're parked all over town. They're all along the river, along Caneland shopping centre, obvious as anything. They're all down at the River St boat ramp, parked in the streets and we're sitting empty. I charge $30 a night and they whinge about that."
Cr Camm said once a new policy was in place council could also work on reducing the impact of illegal camping on commercial operators.
"We would then identify where illegal camping was occurring and work with parties in those areas to ensure they comply," she said.
Cr Camm said council's Mirani Caravan Park, which received RV-friendly accreditation about 12 months ago, was having a really good winter season.
"They've improved numbers for the last three years," she said.
"Mirani Caravan Park is currently at 70% capacity after peaking at 80% in July."
Seaforth Caravan Park has been a little slower than usual this year.
"They're down 25% on this time last year," Cr Camm said.
"Seaforth Caravan Park is currently at 50% capacity."
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