Van park set to remove long-term sites to make way for travellers

Published: March 5, 2022

A caravan park on South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula is moving to slash the number of long-term site holders to make space for more casual travellers.

Yankalilla Council, which owns the Jetty Caravan Park in Normanville, is considering a plan to remove the annual licence-holders in September, 2024.

Elected members recently voted for the caravan park to become a member of the Big 4 holiday park group.

The Adelaide Advertiser reports that the council is completing a $6million upgrade of the park which has seen the installation of  23 new cabins.

To that end, 13 annual licence holders on the park’s northern side have already had their arrangements terminated.

The Jetty Caravan Park in Normanville

Now, a proposal to end the leases of the remaining 50 licence holders on the park’s southern side is very much on the agenda, opening the way for more casual travellers to stay.

Annual licence-holders are allowed to stay at the caravan park for up to 100 nights a year, with contracts up for renewal every 12 months. Sites often often include an immobile caravan, an annexe, and other improvements such as gardens.

However, the council has been doing its sums and senses an opportunity to increase revenue.

Yankalilla Council chief executive Nigel Morris told the Adelaide Advertiser that the organisation made about $239,000 from the annual licence-holders, and could increase that income to $614,000 based on current casual site usage rates.

Some sites were 400sqm and could potentially be divided into two casual spots.

“Council can get more income for the community for rationalising the size of these places and making it more attractive,” he said.

Mr Morris said many of the long-term site holders bought the infrastructure on their places from previous users, incorrectly believing they had long-term security there. He told the Advertiser that this was despite the council making it clear arrangements were only secure for 12 months at a time.

“We’ve taken away the ones on the beach side, and people have realised that it’s not going to go on forever,” Mr Morris said.

  • Do you have sympathy for the long-term lease holders who may lose their holiday boltholes? Or do you think caravan parks should ultimately be primarily catering to the travelling public? Comment below.
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John Graham
3 months ago

It’s all about dollars. And there is no money to be had from homeless people.

Daryl
3 months ago
Reply to  John Graham

It is about the dollars but also a lot of families have on-site vans for their Easter/ Christmas holidays, which would generate reliable income for the park. But some can be run down and unsightly so the park maybe wanting to get rid of these ones.

mary
3 months ago
Reply to  John Graham

Would the caravan not be their home? So many families have also been asked for unaffordable increased rent – happening all over Oz – Rates have increased and residents need their Council to earn money so their facilities are kept in order

Sue
3 months ago
Reply to  John Graham

These are not homeless people. They can only stay 100 days a year, clearly private holiday accommodation. But, yes I do agree that it’s all about the almighty dollar!

Robin Stanton
3 months ago

We stayed there with some friends a few months ago. We had booked some of the premium caravan sites along the fence line with a view to the sea from our motorhome only to relocated further back in the park because all those spots were being converted to cabins. They were not permanent sites, but normal van sites.
There’s obviously more money in cabins than vans. Another great destination being ruined by greed.

Ace
3 months ago
Reply to  Robin Stanton

The trends for how parks are set-up changes with time. A few years ago, it was profitable to increase permanent dwellers because traveller numbers were low. Things are changing rapidly. Permanents are no longer attractive and park cabins are the big money-maker, along with caravans.
Goolwa Discovery Park is doing similar work. 25 new luxury cabins and an excellent variety of caravan options have been installed.
The permanent shanty-town is still there but I imagine that will slowly get reduced.
Yes, it’s about financial return. Business has to operate successfully to be viable.

Those who label these changes as “greed” do not or will not understand how business operates.

David McG
3 months ago

It all about money – the town will lose our dollars as we do not stop at Big 4 caravan parks.

Jeff Withers
3 months ago
Reply to  David McG

The dollars they lose from you will be more than compensated by the new travellers in town

Ty Stacey
3 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Withers

Let’s see what impact petrol prices and open borders to overseas travel does to the greedy parks

Diane
3 months ago

council only care about money, never about people, r there full time people there,
Another town we will not go to

Jeff Withers
3 months ago

Totally agree with council. These prime spots need to be available for the greater public not the same 150 site holders each year. But in saying so council need to ensure these people have some where to go

Ace
3 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Withers

Where they go, is not council’s responsibility. These agreements are for 100 days max and I am sure most would only use them a few weeks per year. The lessees should know the limitations of the contract and really they have no right to complain when they are terminated. “It’s in the contract!”

Ray Spindler
3 months ago

That’s my biggest problem with c/ parks.
Sorry you can’t have that site because mr so so have been coming here for 2 decades.
How about let someone else get a taste of these great spots

Jim
3 months ago

It won’t increase access to casual users. At other big 4 parks with cabins, it the same people who book the premium spots or cabins every year and get priority. Where’s the equity in that??

Andrew
3 months ago

Caravan parks are a business. Unfortunately many are now wanting to dominate the market. Not being satisfied with that, they also want to squeeze out free camps because they are seen as a threat to said business. I ask this: If by putting in cabins (and therefore squeezing out the traditional caravan/camper) are they not encroaching on the sole business model of the local pub and/or hotel providing accomodation? If we acknowledge that, are they not doing exactly what they accuse free campers of to their own towns folk – taking away their livelihood? Caravan parks can’t have it both ways but it seems they do & can with the help of the local councils. Maybe the councillors have a vested interest in the caravan park? Many questions with so few forthcoming answers.

David Mercer
3 months ago

Councils and caravan park owners are becoming more greedy because of the increase in local tourism due to the lock down of overseas travel and being restricted to travelling intra-state. When travelling O/S gets back to what it was before COVID I predict that there will be glut of caravans for sale and Australian caravan parks will get back to pre COVID days.

Ty Stacey
3 months ago
Reply to  David Mercer

Spot on David. I for one wish to do some overseas road trips as soon as possible

Mark
3 months ago

parks should be for travelling public not for long term occupation/ permanent stays

Ace
3 months ago

I hope the Windsor Caravan Park in Adelaide do the same thing. There are some very shonky lean-too’s there and the owner had made a decision to encourage more of them, as it made economic sense at the time. The new higher demand for casual travellers will hopefully make sense for the management to change to a great place for tourists only.

Bruce
3 months ago

I’d rather Discovery Parks, Big 4 has slackened off a little.

Glen Manning
3 months ago

Why not have dedicated long term caravan parks so that short stay could remain open and more available?

Frosty
3 months ago

You will dampen potential customer’s enthusiasm if you make the sites too small. Especially in casual sites. Try to “stack ’em in” and they will stay in droves.

Ty
3 months ago

Irrespective of what views we may hold about long term lease sites at caravan parks, DEMAND will finally determine outcomes. With borders opening to overseas travel and petrol prices skyrocketing, we will see a return to parks offering special deals again

Trevor
3 months ago

I have on onsite van in a park on the NSW south coast. There is quite a few of us as well as many van/camp sites. I can say without doubt that if the park kicked us out it would not exist for long. They would throw away a GUARANTEED 1/2 a million dollars in income in the hope of getting it back from travellers which will not happen. Can be mix of both if managed properly.

Roy Turner
3 months ago

Maybe there should be parked for permants only

Sue
3 months ago

Ardrossan caravan park has done the same. We had a semi-permenant there for 17 years. We have sold in the past year and bought a caravan. However our previous neighbours were offered a site at the back of the park to move to, at their own expense $5000+. Several just up and left very angry on the money they lost. This is just money focussed and not handled well at all.Shame on councils.

Anne & Brian
3 months ago

Big 4 Caravan Park pricings are far too high for us and I daresay, most retirees doing the big lap.

Andrew
3 months ago
Reply to  Anne & Brian

Most big chains are. They want to dominate the market by offering water parks & jumping pillows we grey nomads end up subsidising for other families kids. Sounding a bit like the child care industry & the tax payer doesn’t it.

LD Hill
2 months ago

Just think about this. Have some empathy. My friend spent all her Super savings$52K on a beautiful cabin. It was the original Managers residence. She has been given eviction notice. No compensation. And even worse she will have to pay for demolition. It is heartless, despicable & totally wrong.

Doug Kelly
1 month ago

Council talks about increasing site availability and making campsites smaller to increase revenue “based on current casual site usage rates”.
As a regular visitor to the park over the past 8 years or so the major attraction and the reason the park is full at peak times is that the park is not overcrowded with casual visitors camping on top of each other. The council should very carefully consider the space for casual campers. If the bays are made too small the “current casual site usage rates” will fall dramatically.

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