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2 December, 2020

TRC gets out of the caravan business

Two Tablelands caravan parks are set to be leased out to commercial operators after the Tablelands Regional Council (TRC) voted to end their involvement in the parks.

By Phil Brandel

TRC Councillor David Clifton who voted in favour of leasing out council caravan parks to commercial operators.

TRC gets out of the caravan business

Two Tablelands caravan parks are set to be leased out to commercial operators after the Tablelands Regional Council (TRC) voted to end their involvement in the parks.

The Malanda Falls Caravan Park and the Lake Side Motor Inn and Caravan Park at Lake Tinaroo had been run and owned by council, with caretakers taking care of the parks on the council’s behalf. At last Thursday’s council meeting, councillors voted to put both parks out to lease for a commercial operator to run the parks, while council would still own the land.

According to council documents, over the past four years the Malanda Falls Caravan Park incurred an operating cost to the Council of $125,000 per year on average.

While the Lakeside Motor Inn and Caravan Park has incurred an average operating cost to the Council of $30,844 per year.

TRC councillors were given 5 options to vote on for the future of both the tourist parks

1 - Contract management of the park to a third-party operator (Employee Caretakers)

2 - Contract management of the park to a third-party operator and manager 

3 - Lease the park to a commercial operator  

4 - Sell the park

5 - Decommission the park and no longer provide this service.

During the meeting, Councillor David Clifton led the charge to lease out the Malanda caravan park saying that in the 2019/2020 financial year, the caravan park cost each individual ratepayer $9.34.

“Due to competition regulations, we can’t be successful in running ventures like this,” he said.  

“We need to put it out there to the commercial world, if they can’t make money from it, then nobody can.

“We need to stop the bleed of money, let’s get a commercial operator to run it and we will continue to own it as a council asset.”

Mayor Rod Marti said he was supportive of council putting the van parks up for lease to a commercial operator because council was notoriously bad at managing commercial enterprises.

“This council has been bleeding for years because we don’t have the skills to run caravan parks,” he said

“We are not equipped to do anything outside of water, waste and roads.

“The statement we are making to the community is that council doesn’t want to be in the business of running caravan parks.

“Ratepayers have been pumping money into these parks for a very long time, so let’s put a professional in there and let them have a go.”

 The vote to lease the Malanda Caravan park to a commercial operator was passed 5 -2 with Councillors Bilney and Hayden voting against the motion.

The decision to lease out the Lakeside Caravan Park at Lake Tinaroo to a commercial operator was passed unanimously.

After the passing of the two motions, Cr Clifton said council would now put the parks out to tender. “It will now be up to council to decide on whether it’s a big operator that takes over the parks or a smaller local operator,” he said

“The person or persons who will be chosen will be the best fit for council and also for the local community.

“The community will now get a return from the operator, it’s outrageous to think that ratepayers have been subsidising people’s holidays.”


 


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