‘Environment V Tourism’: Lancelin on the frontline

Published: August 21, 2015
Should Lancelin get a new caravan park to ope with grey nomad numbers

Environmental experts are casting doubt on the wisdom of plans to build a new multimillion-dollar caravan park in the small WA coastal town of Lancelin, an area much loved by grey nomads.

A new report from the Wetlands Research Association has found that the proposed location is right on top of wetlands formed in dune hollows, a feature only found at six sites across WA. It has discovered grasslands that are listed as critically endangered and protected under federal law.

Critics say that building a new caravan park on top of a pristine patch of critically endangered vegetation would threaten the very reason tourists come to this state.

With the downturn in the mining industry there has been a massively renewed focus put tourism in the west and the major new park at Lancelin was seen as a key part  of the strategy.

Back in 2012, a Tourism WA-commissioned report identified Lancelin, Broome and Exmouth as “extreme priorities” for new caravan parks.

Shire of Gingin Shire chief executive Jeremy Edwards has told WA News that the park, about eight hectares in size, would probably be a $15 to $20 million project and the most expensive piece of infrastructure ever developed in Lancelin. It is argued that any smaller proposal would threaten commercial viability.

However, environmentalists have a different view. While Professor Hans Lambers acknowledges that tourism is critical to WA’s future wealth, he says there are plenty of alternatives.

“There is certainly space for caravan parks, for tourism, but you don’t want it in a pristine area with a threatened ecological community,” he told WA News. “That would threaten the very environment the tourists are coming to see … there is plenty of cleared land for any facility.”

But Shire of Gingin President, Michael Aspinall, says caravans are currently driving into Lancelin and doing a U-turn when they find there is nowhere to stay. He insists that ‘business as usual’ is not an option.

He has previously said the Shire had provided residents with “every reassurance” that environmental issues would be considered and that the affected areas could be managed.

Meanwhile, the Department of Planning has confirmed receipt of an updated environmental report with additional information about a “threatened ecological community”. It will considering the new information and will make a recommendation to the Minister “in coming months”.

  • What do you think about the plan for a major new caravan park in Lancelin? Have you driven into town and left again because of a lack of camping options? How do we find the balance between protecting the environment and catering to tourists? Comment below.
3 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
TommyG
6 years ago

There’s a few conflicting bits to this story:
1. “Lancelin, an area much loved by grey nomads”
2. “would threaten the very reason tourists come to this state”
3. “That would threaten the very environment the tourists are coming to see”
4. “caravans are currently driving into Lancelin and doing a U-turn when they find there is nowhere to stay”
1. The CP at Lancelin has many annual repeat customers who have been going there for years, they probably love it but does that really justify comment 1.
2. Most tourists pass by Lancelin because it’s off the main road and isn’t known for anything special.
3. Same as above:
4. Very few drive in at all, quite a few did when it was known that they could park overnight behind the bakery where the dump point, nice clean toilets and excellent products available from the bakery, a Chemist and reasonable take-away within walking distance. However the council put a stop to that. Now GN’s just drive past Lancelin.

The Shire of Gingin does not believe in freedom or low cost parking anywhere along their coastal strip.
The comment by Jeremy Edwards
“Shire of Gingin Shire chief executive Jeremy Edwards has told WA News that the park, about eight hectares in size, would probably be a $15 to $20 million project and the most expensive piece of infrastructure ever developed in Lancelin. It is argued that any smaller proposal would threaten commercial viability” This says it all, CEO’s are paid according to the infrastructure among other things, under their control. Of course Jeremy Edwards is keen for the proposal to go ahead BUT… Will a new multimillion-dollar caravan park make a big difference to the number of GN’s and tourists who visit the area? I doubt it.
Family holiday makers, are a different story, I would assume they would be happy about it, no doubt bouncy castles, swimming pools etc, so all in all I suppose the idea has merit.
The grasslands that are listed as critically endangered and protected under federal law can be changed by the stroke of a pen, depending on how much money is thrown at it.

Didi
6 years ago

I am on the side of the Environmentalists! For two reasons. Firstly. I am SICK of local politicions/ regional councils who say WE want caravan parks. This is purely their own greed showing. The Grey Nomads that I know DO NOT want multi million dollar parks that then CHARGE US high prices to use them! We want low cost environmentally friendly areas that we can use. Most of us have solar. Most of us dont need or want fancy sites. What we do want is to keep our country natural. Secondly. As we all are aware many of us REFUSE to use caravan parks if at all possible. We want to spend our money in Town, giving back to the local community. Not spending in cramped and caged Caravan Parks.
If they go ahead it looks like Lancelin is another area I’ll be boycotting! Im sure Im not the only one. Why cant the greedy council work with the Environmentalists to produce a low cost low effect area for us to use? Really SICK of greedy councils putting up greedy Caravan Parks and saying its for US. The only reason they do it is for themselves. Disgusting!

Rob Jones
6 years ago

Now that Indian Ocean Drive is open all the way it was only a matter of time before the beach destinations north of Perth were going to be more developed. I live in Busselton and during the summer months you can’t move down here. The beach holidaying population needs to be able to spread North as well as south. I am in my late sixties and understand the frustration of Nomads but sorry if I offend you, Nomads don’t have the big dollars that the working population has.

ADVERTISEMENT

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

0
    0
    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop