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9 December, 2020

Malanda community pushes back

Malanda residents shocked by The Tablelands Regional Council’s (TRC) recent decision to lease out the Malanda Caravan Park to a commercial operator have decided to push back.

By Phil Brandel

Malanda residents shocked by The Tablelands Regional Council’s (TRC) decision to lease out the Malanda Caravan Park (pictured) to a commercial operator have decided to push back.

Malanda community pushes back

Malanda residents shocked by The Tablelands Regional Council’s (TRC) decision to lease out the Malanda Caravan Park to a commercial operator have decided to push back.

At the TRC ordinary council meeting on Thursday, November 26 council discussed the future of the Caravan Park with Mayor Rod Marti saying “We are not in the caravan park business.”

The Malanda Caravan Park has been owned and run by the TRC for the past 20 years with council claiming it was costing the council on average $125,000 per year to keep the park open. 

Councillors were given several options which included the continuation of subsidising the park, leasing out the park or shutting down the park and selling the land.

Council decided to lease the park out to a commercial operator which was passed 5 – 2 by councillors.

Now local residents have decided to push back, with a community meeting being held at the Malanda Hotel on Wednesday, December 1.  President of the Malanda Chamber of Commerce Jeanette Suffield said the local community were not happy.

“The Malanda community are not happy and we are looking at some options that we don’t want to disclose just yet,” she said.

“There was no public consultation and we would have liked council to not rush to make a decision but instead to get more information before they made a decision.”

An online petition has also been launched in the hope of getting the TRC to reverse their decision.

Matt Lachlan who launched the change.org petition said that he believes that The Malanda Falls Caravan Park is a critically important asset for the local community.

“This decision has been made as TRC claims it has cost council $200,000 year to maintain the park,” he said.  

“What TRC clearly have not accounted for is the huge investment this park brings to the region. The caretakers Janine and Rob have, for years, passionately promote the Tablelands and have advocated for and supported local businesses.

“This park offers something truly unique - a beautiful park with stunning wildlife and scenery, a park where kids are free to be kids, where people can set up camp where they choose and truly unwind for a few days or longer.

“The park has amazingly diverse wildlife, including our threatened local icon the Tree Kangaroo.”

Mr Lachlan said he is worried that a commercial operator may make changes that could destroy the appeal of the park.  “Installing numbered, designated campsites, and putting profit before community will forever change Malanda and is something we as residents and tourist alike must stand up for,” he said.  “Tablelands Regional Council are elected to represent and act in the best interests of the community, this decision is a monumental failure of that duty and must be reversed.”

Rob and Janine Rielly who have managed the park since February 2015 and said that they have been blown away by the support from the local community.  “I think it’s amazing that we have such an amazing community who want to get behind and support the caravan park,” Janine said.

“It’s good to see the local community is passionate about who ends up running the park.

“They want someone who is as passionate about the caravan park as they are.

Janine said she wasn’t sure yet if they would apply for the tender of the park. “We just don’t know yet as we will have to wait and see what term and conditions there will be.”


 


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