The Victorian city of Geelong is looking at the possibility of introducing more facilities for low-cost campers in the area,
With the Spirit of Tasmania due to start sailing into Geelong from next year, the Bay 93.9 radio station reports there are growing calls for more to be done to entice caravanners and motorhomers to stay.
Councillor Kylie Grzybek is proposing the council update its policies, and look at providing low-cost camping in the northern suburbs, including a publicly accessible dump point.
“We are missing this whole cohort of RVers, these caravan and camping facilities,” she said. “They’ve got their own facilities but they just need somewhere to be able to park and to be able to use our fantastic places in the north.”
Cr Grzybek says that, after being encouraged to do so by members of the local community and tourism businesses, she is putting forward a motion to the City of Greater Geelong proposing possible new low-cost camping sites be investigated.
She said areas including Lara, Anakie, Little River and the You Yangs would benefit from a low-cost camping site.
Cr Grzybek said a site nearby could generate money for the local economy, if grey nomads and other travellers could be persuaded to stick around for a night or two.
“Caravans and campers need somewhere to stay the night before or the night after, so they’re not travelling straight off the boat into the world,” she said.
It’s not the first time Cr Grzybek has tried to get more done to encourage all caravanners and motorhomers to stay in the area longer. Back in 2019, she said the city should have both paid caravan parks, and some small free short-term parking places with a dump point.
However, at the at time, her appeals fell on deaf ears with the chief executive of Tourism Greater Geelong and the Bellarine, Roger Grant, opposing the initiative.
“There is no such thing as free camping, because someone has to pay,” he said at the time. “Campers are welcome, caravanners are welcome — we say ‘please come and stay’ but you have to pay.”
The Geelong Advertiser reports that in 2019 the region had 27 commercial caravan parks each drawing about $1.26 million into the local economy per year. Council figures showed the parks account for about 12% of the accommodation industry revenue and 9% of industry employment.