Flood-damaged van parks re-open, but can they be protected from future inundation?

Published: July 25, 2023

While the widespread flooding that affected many parts of Australia over the past 12 months may not be attracting headlines any more, the hard work to recover from the devastation left in the water’s wake continues.

Large numbers of caravan parks and national parks across the country suffered significant damage during the various deluges, and many were forced to close … some on a long-term basis … while infrastructure was repaired.

The Victoria Lake Caravan Park near Shepparton in Victoria was hammered by heavy flooding back in October last year … and has only just reopened to visitors, albeit with reduced capacity.

Greater Shepparton City Council said it was excited to announce the re-opening and said it had taken a huge effort – including carrying out major electrical works – to make the park ready.

“The amenity blocks have been refurbished ensuring they are ready to use, and look fresh and inviting once again,” it said. “The park will be available for RVs, caravans and camping, but due to the removal of ensuite facilities, the only availability for showers and toilets is inside the amenity blocks.”

Following the floods all of the cabins in the park were severely damaged and had to be removed, and there are question marks about whether they will return.

With a short-term fix for the park in place, there are now wider questions to be addressed … like how to avoid similar dramas in the future.

The ABC reports that Victoria Lake park has been impacted by floods in the past and a levee bank was built in 1994 to provide some level of mitigation for Goulburn River flooding. However, larger flooding events have continued to impact the area.

A council spokesperson said the infrastructure at older caravan parks can be dated and is more vulnerable to flood damage.

“Other works, such as replacing the cabins and ensuite facilities, have been put on hold while further planning and investigation occurs into the flood levels and the building design height required above the flood level to mitigate the risk of future flooding,” the spokesperson told the ABC.

And other major tourism operators are also working to protect themselves against the rising risk of extreme floods.

The ABC reports that Discovery Parks has about 100 caravan parks, resorts, and glamping sites across Australia, and eight of them in the country’s south-east went underwater last spring.

Discovery Parks chief operating officer Matt Lang told the broadcaster that the business was implementing a comprehensive environment, social, and governance strategy to safeguard its parks and communities.

“As part of this we are exploring a range of solutions which include raising cabins above major flood levels and adopting climate-resilient designs in our parks to enhance their ability to withstand extreme weather events,” he said. “As a $27 billion industry that is responsible for more domestic tourism nights than any other sector, there is a need to adopt collaborative approaches to managing these ongoing risks.”

Mr Lang said the group wanted to ensure that the local communities and small businesses the caravan industry supports can continue to benefit from regional tourism.

  • Are any of your favourite camping areas still closed due to the effects of flooding? Comment below

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I just finished a stay at South Mission Beach, a beautiful location, but I have told them, I wouldn’t be back until they fixed there site drainage and had more slab sites, as we we’re paying a premium rate, while sloshing in mud getting out of the van and walking around the park.

And 70% of caravan parks are built on flood grounds for a reason, otherwise it would be housing
stems from council parks making revenue from land they couldn’t get rates from due to unstable land or flooding, now these parks are owned by large company’s still making money for the council and the park companies know the land has issues
It is what it is, flood land

About time this caravan park updated its facilities. When we stayed there in 2016 they were pretty bad and said they were going to be updated but never got done

It seems lots of caravan parks on cheaper flood prone land?

Big 4 Blanchtown Caravan Park South Australia still closed due to the effects of man made flooding

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