New caravan park plan draws local opposition

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Diggers Rest caravan park plan
Plans for a caravan park in the Victorian town of Diggers Rest have run into opposition. PIC: Graeme Bartlett / Wikimedia

It is no secret that caravan parks in top locations are constantly under pressure to sell to developers, and that those wishing to create new parks in perhaps less traditional spots face a series of significant challenges to get up and running.

These challenges clearly include an array of financial uncertainties, as well as a series of complex rules and regulations. Most challenging of all though is sometimes local opposition.

In the small Victorian community of Diggers Rest to Melbourne’s north west, residents are lobbying to stop an application for a caravan park along the Old Calder Highway which they believe is “nonsensical” for the area.

The applicant, Dean Slaviero, wants to build a 50-lot caravan park at the site, saying his  vision is to attract tourism to the town.

“Diggers Rest is the gateway to the Macedon Ranges and we’ve got a great opportunity here to make that gateway look so much better than it already is,” he told the Star Weekly newspaper. “I want it to be a community asset for the town.”

He said his idea for the site would eventually include refurbishing a W-Class tram and converting it into a burger cafe, a community garden and a boardwalk lined with machinery as a tourist attraction.

“My dad has owned the property for over 30 years,” he told the newspaper. “We’re looking to improve the town and provide better services.

However,  with the proposal out for public notice until June 14, there has been some local backlash.

One objector, who asked not to be named, said his concern was that the caravan park would alter the neighbourhood character.

“Diggers Rest is a small, tight-knit community that is mostly inhabited by families of local workers or city commuters,” he said. “It is not a tourist destination and developing a caravan park is just nonsensical … there is no evidence of a shortage of accommodation for visitors to the region.”

Back in 2000, the Star Weekly reports that more than 100 residents lobbied outside Melton council chambers against an application for a larger scale caravan park for fear it would attract unwanted visitors to the area.

Many of the residents against Mr Slaviero’s proposal share the same concerns.

“I understand where the people’s concerns are coming from,” Mr Slaviero said. “The last application, more than 15 years ago, was right in the centre of town but I planned the caravan park as far away from the town as I could on my land.”

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14 Responses to New caravan park plan draws local opposition

  1. Residents of many little villages who don’t rely on passing traffic and tourists to earn a living, tend to be “not in my backyard”. Yet it is the local businesses that create the village type of life. Somehow Mr Slaviero will have to convince his community that the proposal will be good for the town.

  2. We like to visit our grandson from sunbury when we are in the area. There are no van parks anywhere close so it makes it hard. Our recent visit we had to stay out at a scout camp at riddells creek. That is the closest we could get. That’s 20 minutes from sunbury and out on a dirt road about 6ks out from riddells creek. Makes it hard to take him on outings. Diggers rest is closer. Also I think for people coming to the city for appointments diggers rest is doable.

  3. Your only have Rockbank Caravan Park close and l would never stay there again. Diggers Rest would only profit from a new park as all others are closed or for permanent living

  4. Diggers Rest – a good idea. Places to stay around Melbourne are not very common, having in mind the population of Melbourne.
    I imagine there would be any number of folk who would like to use a new CP at Diggers Rest, using it as a staging post for trips into Melbourne.

  5. Perfect position for travellers wanting to access Melbourne events without the stress of battling intense traffic with a van behind. Close enough to realistically link with the Abel Tasman to Tasmania.

  6. I think that Digers Rest is a very good idea for a camp/ caravan park. There is great need for such a service. We all love the country side snd visit villages and spend our money. Digers Rest would become an important asset for the region to mount Macedon where there isn’t any thing.

  7. I hope your park gets the go ahead because there not enough parks the prediction is there be quarter amount or retiring in next five years if a least half of them become greynomds they got go somewhere I am one of those I live on the road an support small towns rather than the big city

  8. Decent parks hard to find around Melbourne. A good one on other side of town is near Warrandyte. Diggers Rest is out of fruit pickers territory so should only bring tourists interested in enjoying the area. Make it dog friendly please.

  9. Like Kathy we have stayed at the scout camp at Riddells Creek. Great area to stay in within easy commute to Melbourne city centre.

  10. I am a past resident of sunbury and I think it would be an ideal place for a CP, grey nomads that need somewhere to park their vans close to the city because they have a medical problem , not to mention the fact that it would bring added business to both Sunbury and Diggers Rest, I know it’s not the same scenario but a lot of towns have survived because of the grey nomads added valued traffic.

  11. Wait they become grey nomads and they want somewhere to stay close to the coty simple only let them stay 3 months no permemts

  12. What everyone here seems to be missing is the fact that the residents of this town DO NOT WANT a van park..they don’t want tourists ..they are working class families that want there home left as it is..they chose to raise there families there exactly because its quiet and sleepy..respect there rights and find somewhere else to park…

  13. No permanents

  14. Any one who would like to start a business and create work for people should have full support. Good luck Dean .

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