Another country community looks set to trial short-stay camping as a way to boost the local economy.
At a recent meeting, Victoria’s Bass Shire Council agreed that it would implement a strategic review of camping needs, and to investigate trialling a campsite at Dalyston Recreation Reserve, near the Bass Highway south of Melbourne.
The Dalyston Football Ground Committee of Management had proposed the trial, arguing that the service would address the needs of self-contained caravan owners looking for a couple of nights’ accommodation with none of the extras and costs associated with family orientated parks.
It suggested a fee of $20 per night which would supplement the budget of the committee.
“There is also a suggested flow on to the local economy with tourist spending at the Football Club and local venues for food and drinks,” Cr Bruce Kent said in his submission to the council. “This proposal is in no way suggesting that they would be competing against local parks.”
He said he believed a review would support the vision of the Dalyston Football Ground Committee, as well as supporting other communities within Bass Coast who have a similar idea of boosting the local economy and highlighting the beautiful environment.
“There is compelling evidence that this proposal would aid the local economy in its Covid recovery,” said Cr Kent. “Due to issues raised over compliance and lack of consultation with the community, it has been recommended that the council fast track a strategic review of the camping and caravan needs within our community.”
Speaking afterwards, local grey nomad Mervyn Trott was highly supportive of the trial at Dalyston and said the shire was severely lacking in RV-friendly sites.
Mr Trott told the South Gippsland Sentinel-Times that short stays were also incredibly beneficial for community groups and help bring tourism into small towns.
“People go shopping and they support the local areas,” he said. “It gives the clubs more options and more venues, and most of these community facilities are struggling and need funds.”
Mr Trott told the Sentinel-Times that many RV and caravan owners were either retired or semi-retired, and couldn’t afford to stay at caravan parks when only needing an overnight stop.
“We travel north every year for four to five months,” he said. “We stay at caravan parks along the coast, but on the way if we’re just driving up, we don’t want to spend $40-plus a night, we just need to park the bus somewhere.”
Victoria’s Bass Shire Council officers will now conduct a strategic review of camping needs in the area as part of a broader piece of work considering the demand for short-stay accommodation within the municipality.
They will report back to the council in June.