Free parking RV at Kershaw Gardens ‘robs van parks’

RALPH Warner thinks Rockhampton Regional Council needs a "dumb ideas folder".

And the first thing that should be filed away is the decision to allow people to park their campervans and caravans in Kershaw Gardens overnight for free.

Last month, council voted to allow a free overnight stopover for recreational vehicles at the gardens and it appears many travellers have taken advantage of the opportunity.

In a letter to The Morning Bulletin yesterday, Ralph aired his concerns about how the move would affect local caravan park operators.

"How shameful that the Rockhampton council now allows such a camp-ground at an entrance to the Kershaw Gardens on a busy city by-way flaunting many of the strict rules and regulations that it demands of commercial operators," he wrote.

But Rockhampton Region Mayor Margaret Strelow said caravan parks were not the only businesses council needed to consider in allowing overnight parking.

"Councillors understand that there are many issues that come into play in the consideration of providing free camping within the city limits," she said.

"But it is not just one business type... that needs to be considered.

After operating a Rockhampton caravan park for 32 years, Ralph has plenty of experience in the industry.

And he'd like to see more money spent locally by people travelling through the region.

"What a kick in the guts this decision had been to accommodation and tourist operators," he wrote.

"How can councillors not feel some shame that they are robbing their business and highly regulated constituents of rightful revenue? What does this do to encourage further enterprise in tourism?

"What respect does it give to the efforts that caravan park operators have individually and collectively given... as flag-bearers in tourism promotions throughout Australia and overseas for this region and the state?"

Ralph said caravan park operators relied on offering accommodation for business viability. He said many caravan parks "would hardly ever break 32% (site occupancy) annually".

Cr Strelow argued that providing free parking enticed people to stay in the city when they would have bypassed it.

"Extra visitors into our region for an extra day has got to be a good thing."

Topics:  caravan kershaw gardens rockhampton regional council rv

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