The WA town of Albany has rejected a proposal for it to offer free caravan camping areas near the CBD, amid concerns the plan would hurt caravan parks financially.
The Association of Caravan Clubs of WA (ACCWA) had been calling for caravanners to be offered areas for 24-, 48-, and 72-hour stops within a reasonable distance of the CBD, as well as parking options within the town centre.
However, the ABC reports that the City of Albany council rejected the proposal, arguing it already provided free and low-fee camping grounds outside the CBD.
At a recent council meeting, caravan park owners and some councillors raised concerns about providing free sites in direct competition with paid operators, and argued that the provision of an RV-friendly site would be too costly.
Councillor Matt Benson-Lidholm was one who was strongly opposed the idea.
“We don’t need a stamp that says we’re RV friendly,” he said. “We’ve already got everything.”
The ABC reports that Luke Shuttleworth, who owns Big4 Emu Beach Holiday Park, said his park provided more than 30 jobs. He urged councillors at the meeting to reject the proposal, arguing that Albany was a unique destination.
“It’s not a transit stop,” he said. “They’re not going to bypass with what we have to offer.”
However, the ABC reports that grey nomad Dave Yendell, felt the whole debate had been skewed due to lobbying by local caravan parks.
“This report relies almost solely on submissions made by vested interests who are against RV overnight camping,” he said.
Earlier this year, WA’s Shire of Plantagenet closed its free RV campsite at Mount Barker following complaints from the town’s only caravan park.
However, just a week or so ago the WA city of Bunbury, two hours south of Perth, decided to keep its free RV rest stops … despite strong opposition from the holiday park industry.