Coffs mayor acts to block subsidised camping plan

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No free camaing for grey nomads in Coffs Harbour
Coffs Harbour's mayor is not in favour of free camping

The battle over whether to allow free and subsidised camping in Coffs Harbour has ratcheted up another notch.

Late last week, John Arkan persuaded four of his fellow councillors to approve an immediate 12-month trial of 10 heavily discounted sites for self-contained RV campers at Park Beach Holiday Park. However, the mayor, Denise Knight, has now put in a rescission motion to prevent subsidised camping for recreational vehicles being introduced in the city.

The original plan was to allow 10 sites in the council-controlled Park Beach caravan park to be offered to self-contained RVs at $10 a night for a maximum of two nights.

It would have meant the loss of 20% of available unpowered sites and would have cost the park at least $10,000 in reduced booking fees over the peak Christmas and Easter holidays, as all sites in the park are currently occupied at this time with full fee-paying visitors.

The Coffs Coast Advocate reports that one of the councillors who originally supported the subsidised camping plan has now backflipped. The original motion was only passed 5-4.

Councillor Arkan’s dream of allowing free camping at the New South Wales coastal beauty spot also appears to have run into trouble. In February, he successfully moved to allow short-term camping for self-contained RVs on ‘council-owned’ land on the Jetty Foreshores.

However, the council owns no land on the Jetty Foreshores except the public road reserve of Jordan Esplanade and must abide by Crown land regulations on the other land it controls as the corporate manager of the Coffs Coast State Park.

At last week’s meeting, Councillor Arkan continued to argue that RV camping would provide a substantial economic boost to tourism. However, reports by council staff highlighted the jurisdictional difficulties and expense of such a move on Crown land.

In the end, the mayor used her casting vote to block a bid to have the council at least investigate free short-term RV camping on the southern end of the Jetty Foreshores. She pointed out that none of the short-term free RV camping offered by other towns and cities in NSW were in coastal locations.

The Coffs Coast Advocate reports that councillors voted to increase site fees at its four coastal caravan parks for 2014/15.

The increase will see the cost of an unpowered site at Park Beach Holiday Park rise per night to $32 off-peak and $52 in peak times.

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40 Responses to Coffs mayor acts to block subsidised camping plan

  1. $32 – $52 for an unpowered site, is ridiculous, obviously people will pay these prices, but i cant imagine they would get the grey nomads.

    • Howdy All Grey Nomads
      What is this all about???? Coffs is nothing special (It used to be the bee’s knee’s) but these days who cares one iota about the place, it is overpriced including the Petrol/diesel/lpg, we never ever fill at Coff’s but prefer to fill up at Halfway Creek or some place South of Coff’;s and never stay there these days

    • I can tell you one thing for sure, the price of caravan parks and the lack of cheap affordable or free camps keeps our caravan housed in the garage, and only comes out for a special trip to family or friends. Would send one broke maintaining the house and paying for caravan parks around the country.

    • No way will they get this Grey Nomad – Far too expensive

  2. It would appear that the mayor does not realise most nomads have relatives who they visit at christmas
    Still does not want our money for the rest of the year so be it

    • I agree with all comments, we go again on our travels 2014,coffs was on our list, but not now and,as I let everyone know at work the great spots ect this will not be one of them,and the out come of the debate to me was just to raise the camping sites,so my petrol,food,car services,alcohol,playing pokies,paying for attractions,bait for fishing,coffees,gifts for g/kids, will just have to go elsewhere

  3. You have got to be kidding those rates for unpowered.Just another city/town we will not spend a dime in.

  4. We will be voting with our feet, sorry Coffs, will not be spending any thing in your town, and I will go out of my way on the way through to let them know.

    • That goes for us as well. We don’t spend money where we are not welcome.

  5. Yes you have lost us as well,and obivously no idea how many people we talk to in our travells

  6. Exorbitant prices for an unpowered site, what is it for a powered site then…. Omg, I’d hate to guess.. Stick it up your jumper Coffs…

  7. There goes another town off my itinerary. Don’t always look for free but an unpowered site at that price is ridiculous.

  8. Just another reason to travel inland. Don’t mind paying to stay in van parks but when you multiply the price out for a week and look at what is being provided it just doesn’t seem like value for money.
    I guess that a place like Coffs will do well most of the year and if they wanted to introduce a reduced rate, then aim it at the lowest of the low season. Then the park and local business would benefit.

  9. Yep….We will be giving Coffs a big miss as well, lots of other great places to go.

  10. What a joke…this person has just lost the town so much money it’s ridiculous…will bypass this town and spend our money elsewhere…also a 2 night limit…?? Do you want us to spend money in the town with just 2 nights?? I don’t really think these people have any idea …grow a brain…

  11. Another town that wont me getting out 1000 a week. Greedy is as greedy does we will go to ware we are wanted.

  12. This is a stupid move by the Coffs Harbour Council. Grey Nomads can’t afford that type of increase. They just won’t stay there & the local businesses will lose out!!!

  13. Coffs goes on the drive through list, keep your peaks times and discount the others.

    • I like that
      Maybe I should start a thread on our forum..:-
      “Towns on the drive through list”
      I could name a few..

  14. I am ashamed of Coffs Harbour as a Grey Nomad. If the Council think we can afford the exorbitant price of $52 per night to stay, we won’t have any money left to spend in Coffs …. Very backward thinking in my view!

  15. Coffs WAS a good place to go 40 Years ago ?? But just to busy and crowded nowadays ?? But it all boils down to They do not want us, !! and I never go where i am not wanted ?? They do not NEED our $$$ over the Xmas/ Easter Period, and Nomads have NO wish to go there during those same periods,?? However I am sure all those Local Businesses would like a share of the Nomad $$$ in Off Peak times, However with that sort of Council attitude, It is clear they Do not want Nomads or other vanners, Shame about the businesses losing a share of our $$$ off peak, But if your not wanted, ?? then your not welcome, AND You know what ?? Who Cares?? there is heaps of coastal places to go, that do want our $$$ and put out the welcome mat — In short , Coffs do not need us, ? and we don’t need Coffs ??

  16. Are you serious..
    $32/$52 for an Non-powered site..
    Well I was think’n of Dropping in, on my travel’s, but Now forget about it..
    I’ll just make sure that I voice my Complaint[Lack of Support for the Town]..
    They have to realize that if they have nothing to offer they will lose Money.. the Word of mouth can be a huge thing..

    Psst I love the idea of dropping into the information center and voicing a complaint of their Lack of forethought..


  17. As full time nomads of several years now, there is no way we would pay that amount per day for a site. There are thousands of other places to see at much more reasonable rates. Inland towns welcome you with open arms with friendly people and great surroundings. Coffs may do well at school holiday times but will find itself struggling for the rest of the year.

  18. I like the Coffs area, the hinterland, the rivers north and south of the place, BUT I will never stay or spend in that “town”.

  19. Coffs Harbour is off our list also, we have noticed on our travels this year up the east coast, from Victoria, the parks are too expensive, and not much free camp. We got as far as Sarina, Qld, and decided to head inland, we had had enough of the stress involved. Not worth it!!!!!!!

  20. Sorry Coffs businesses , but your council has just sent a lot of you broke ! They have grossly underestimated the power of the grey dollar, and the ” word of mouth network. I am afraid a tired old banana and overpriced van parks ,just don’t cut it these days, bet you don’t get a lot of return campers.
    Thanks for alerting us, 32 bucks is way too much for an unpowered site !,

  21. Greedy Buggers – $52 a night for a patch of dirt imagine 7 days = $364 renters bitch about paying that for rent for a house and all of it convinces, not a patch of dirt … I will spend my money elsewhere …

  22. Have been to coffs many times on different outings ..loved the area weather ..ordinary people there who helped out ..bald tyres on the bike … Bin there dun that but councillors your parochial narrow thinking is not working for me so I will join my fellow gn,s and do the only option open to me .boycott your lovely city spend my pension money in friendly places

  23. Coffs, you have to be joking, who in their on right mind would pay that a night for unpowered site, it will come back and bite them, wouldn’t be able to put a figure on the money the town would loose, just been along the coast in S.A, had million dollar views for $23 pn, yes it was off season, but it doesn’t go up much more in high season, will be by passing Coffs early next year on our trip.It really does make you wonder
    if these people have the ability to do their jobs and see into the future for a successful township.Join up everyone, make sure your tanks are full and by pass them, and others alike. Good idea to start up a forum to name these towns.

    • Have just spent 5 months on the road including NSW & QLD coast & the rest inland on way home, Average cost for powered sites In caravan parks was $26.44 per night but luckily did not stay anywhere near Coffs, especially

  24. Coffs fuel always been too high, but know with these price rises it will be cheaper to use motels then the council owned parks. Yes it’s about time there a list of towns that need to be bypassed and hopefully then these council will get the message.

  25. Have been to Coffs a couple of times, but will be by-passing in future if they all put the fees up any more.
    Last time spent $300+ in shops as well but there always plenty of other places to go.

    • Will bypass Coffs from now on, seen this happen in some other coastal areas where they have lost some support & they don’t get us grey nomads back. there are plenty of other Towns that we will support

  26. Never been there and now there is a good reason not to go there. Those fees are rediculous, even here in West Oz I haven’t found sites that expensive.

  27. These towns should watch the South Australian advert regarding the story of the egg. Farmer’s have chooks that produces egg. The chooks need feed, the feed and the eggs need delivery. The delivery trucks need drivers and service. The Mechanics do the services, trucks deliver to the shops and the shops need customers. “the customer is you…..”
    Can we see the anology to grey nomads staying and spending in towns?

  28. There are other free or low cost camping areas around our lovely coast. Will not stay here, will bypass Coffs.

  29. I have read the comments about Coffs and I totally agree with you.
    Could I suggest a slightly different tact rather than just say we will not stay at Coffs.
    Write to the local newspaper and use this forum also, and write a letter of apology to the business’s you would most likely visit and spend money.
    Apologise to the owners, I mean name their business, stating that due to your Councils policy on free or cheap camping we will not be able to spend money in your business.
    That way it makes it personal to the business operators and maybe they will take notice of the income that they are now not receiving as a direct result of their Council’s actions.
    Afterall it is our money that is not being generated through their cash registers and I really do not think that the Council will subsidise the lost income.

    • Why not Google Coffs Harbour, pick a business any business & email them, letting them know of our dissatisfaction with the Council. Inform them that due to Councils poor decision we will no longer stop at Coffs Harbour & their business will be the one to suffer, see how long this takes to reach Council HQ

  30. I love the area around Coffs, but have not stayed in Coffs for over 35 years as I overheard a comment way back about Cashcows, referring to tourists. Since then I have only visited a friend in Coffs hospital, then travelled to Woolgoolga to stay and spend my holiday dollars

  31. The best thing about Coffs is the road that takes you out of the place.

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