Another major Queensland town has woken up to the fact that it is not to doing enough to attract grey nomads, and is therefore potentially missing out on the economic benefits they bring.
Not for the first time, Maryborough on the Fraser Coast appears to be determined to do something about it.
State MP Bruce Saunders says the city is missing out on tens of millions of dollars a year as grey nomads choose to bypass it on the Bruce Highway in favour of Gympie and Bundaberg
“We are missing out – they just bypass us,” Mr Saunders told the Fraser Coast Chronicle. “It’s a perfect location – there’s so much in Maryborough.”
Mr Saunders said he wanted to join with council and push to build an RV park somewhere in Kent Street. But this is a concept that has been floated in the past and has provoked strong criticism from many commercial caravan park operators. As far back as 2009, a trial of the free parking trial idea on Kent Street was rejected by councillors.
It is not clear whether the latest calls for action in this regard will be any more successful. Fraser Coast Mayor Gerard O’Connell says a recently adopted camping strategy already shows that the council is determined to bring more caravanners and motorhomers into the area.
“We have well and truly rolled out the welcome mat,” Cr O’Connell said.
However, the Fraser Coast Chronicle spoke to RV owners Alan and Nan Ott who said travellers were still actively avoiding the region as it was known that there were no free sites.
Mrs Ott said that if grey nomads and other travellers were given more encouragement to come to the region, there would be a flow-on benefit for the whole Fraser Coast She said the gains would be felt by everyone from auto-electricians needed to do running repairs, to visitors doing whale watching tours in Hervey Bay.
She said Maryborough had an incredible amount of potential to be a grey nomad hot spot thanks to its markets, theatre, good shopping, heritage buildings, and pleasant riverside walks.