News: Locals say no to van park
Residents battle to halt development of a proposed 200-site van park at Cabarita Beach, NSW.
According to the Tweed Coast Holiday Parks Reserve Trust (TCHPRT) and NSW Land and Property Management Authority (LPMA), who initially proposed the $22 million construction in late 2010, the park is designed to increase tourist numbers and give local businesses a much needed jolt. The TCHPRT is made up of local Tweed Shire councillors.
TCHPRT chairman Kevin Skinner said the proposed developments would create a significant boost to the local economy with the creation of jobs through both the construction and operation of the holiday park. "The developments would boost tourism and new residents, which would also mean a significant economic boost for local businesses."
DEVELOPMENT "AT GREAT COST"
But local residents question whether the park is designed with the community’s best interests in mind. The Cabarita Beach Bogangar Residents’ Association is leading the opposition charge. As many as 400 people attended a meeting in late January where local concerns were given voice.
Cabarita Beach Bogangar Residents’ Association spokesperson, Ashley Baldry, told Caravan World
the developers are just trying to make money. "And they are doing it at great cost to the environment and the community," he added.
In addition to risking native plants and wildlife, Baldry points to a township of 3500 people struggling to cope with an annual influx of up to 1000 visitors and the close proximity of a primary school as reasons the proposal is ill-conceived. He believes there are better options to help the local economy.
"We are not opposed to having a new caravan park in the area, but this park is in the wrong place, the cost is too great, and it’s the wrong type of development," he said.
However, TCHPRT executive manager, Richard Adams, recently released a statement directly addressing a number of community concerns.
"The idea that parents need to be concerned for their children’s welfare should the development go ahead is absurd," he said. "We are talking about a short-stay, quality holiday park which will appeal to families, retirees and tourists. It is concerning to hear that some people are presuming these types of holiday makers to be undesirable."
But these comments have done little to dampen residents’ opposition.
BOOST SIX YEARS AWAY
"All we are hearing is development spin," Baldry said. "They are making out this will boost the economy, but what they are not saying is that it is at least six years away."
Speaking with Caravan World, a spokeswoman for the LPMA and the TCHPRT agreed that a completed park is still some way off, but argued the benefits to the community would be felt well before the first vans roll in.
"Understand we are only in the draft proposal stages of the plan and it could be two or more years before the holiday park has even completed construction, if it in fact does go ahead," she said. "Having said that, the benefits to the community in terms of employment, both during and post construction and the creation of new jobs in the community in general, and the economic boost to the community with the extra activity brought to town would be felt immediately."
Balder said the residents’ association is willing to work with the developers to find another solution to boosting the local economy.
"We are not opposing this for the sake of it," he said. "We are happy to look at all alternatives. We are looking at things as simple as a nature walk, to a more developed environmental education facility."
Anyone who wants to make a comment on the proposed park can visit the Cabarita Beach Bogangar Residents’ Association at www.cabaritabeach.org.