Colleen and Tony Fuhrmann enjoy visiting Rockhampton and staying at Kershaw Gardens as it provides everything they need.
Colleen and Tony Fuhrmann enjoy visiting Rockhampton and staying at Kershaw Gardens as it provides everything they need. Steph Allen

LETTERS: Happy Kershaw campers or freeloaders?

YOUR story (TMB 3/08/18) of another happy camper staying free in the Kershaw Gardens High St carpark again gives a false impression of value adding to caravanning tourism to Rocky and the Capricorn region.

Of course such campers are happy. Most people are happy if they get something for nothing. But at whose expense?

In the main most of these campers (your story of one is an example) are not short of a buck. Look at the size of some of their rigs and estimate what they may have cost for a start.


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Seems like it is a bit late to say they over-capitalised so can't afford to contribute to what it costs to operate a registered caravan park.

There is a place for "bush" camping - but is it really necessary beside a main road in a city suburb in a gardens carpark?

Now count the number of these campers amassing in the mid-year months and multiply that by about $35. That is about the amount per day that the legally registered caravan parks potentially miss out on.

Is it fair - or even ethical - for council to lease out its Riverside caravan park to a private operator - then set up a free campground within two kilometres of that location. Is that the fair action of a council that claims that it encourages and cares for local businesses. Something is wrong with this picture.

Having past spent over three decades in the business, it is still gut-wrenching to see the folly of a council that believes there is economic value in pandering to a group who are hellbent on spending as little as possible. If they need petrol, food, vehicle maintenance or essential services they will stop. Some groups promote that an area is "unfriendly" if they do not get what they want for nothing.

Remembering the days when near the end of the month, a day would be set aside to sit down and mainly write cheques, mostly to local businesses for expenses in the past month. Operators today tell me that these days there are many more regulatory and compliance costs. Over a year, two of the highest costs were for council rates and electricity.

But this is a true dynamic of the tourist dollar, which is about bringing new money into an area.

The August 3 story also talks of a boom in caravan tourism and certain growth patterns for sections of the industry.

This is not an accidental boom. This measured growth has only come about by the persistence of the Australian and Queensland caravan industry groups over many years in studying world-wide trends and practices in manufacturing and marketing. All this has been through cooperation and funding from within both caravan trades and caravan parks. Even though larger companies are investing in parks, the 'mum and dad' operators still make up a core group of the industry, expected to appear at the ring of a bell, 24 hours of a day, seven days of a week.

On the local scenes there are certainly great progressions in enhancing our lifestyles that we are proud of. These undoubtedly will add to visitor experiences and be a bonus in promo material.

But it might surprise many to know that Rockhampton caravan park operators have, now for decades, been leaders and participants in treading the boards at consumer shows in all states selling their tourist regions and properties.

Caravanners cannot be forced to stay in caravan parks. Although local operators work cooperatively, there would still be fierce competition against each other, but fair competition.

It's time for citizens to arise and claim back their High St Kershaw Gardens Carpark.

In the interest of fair disclosure: I declare that for the past 14 years the nearest I have been to a caravan park cash register is as a paying customer.

RF Warner


Mayor Strelow's response: I agree with Mr Warner that the world has certainly changed in the 14 years since he left the industry. Council is responding to the demand that is clearly there for 'grey nomads' to be able to blend paid caravan parking with free camping as they journey north.

Council is also keen to recognise the importance of the value that caravan parks add to our tourism industry.

As a way of trying to balance the competing interests, Council gives a Rates rebate of up to $2000 per caravan park within our Regional Council area to those caravan parks potentially impacted by the opening of free camping sites.

Protected by family spirits

READING Mr Brynand's letter 06/08 about God and realms (the 4th dimension?) beyond the physical prompts me to relate my own experience.

About eight months before my husband died in 2013, I let my two cats out the back door and they usually return within 10 minutes for their breakfast.

On this occasion I realised after 20 minutes they had not come back in, so I went to the landing on the ramp and they were both sitting there looking towards the street and, this is without a word of a lie and the absolute truth, there were seven people standing in my yard.

I only had about a three-second window to take all this in because it was very shimmery, but there were three gentlemen and four women. One of the men was very tall, well over 6', and appeared to be in late-Victorian/Edwardian clothing. He looked like my father's English father who passed away long before I was born, and a small lady on his left would have been his Irish wife, and I say this for certainty because I have their combined passport and they looked very much like the people in the photos.

The other man and the lady with him were probably my maternal Scottish grandparents but the image was fading fast.

I don't know who the other three women were, but possibly the three aunts I never knew. Then they were gone. I came back inside and said the first thing that came into my head, "Thank you for coming", but I believe they don't come to us. I believe a window of opportunity opens into their dimension, and I was very privileged to see it.

In 1993 in Noosa, I had an appointment to see a palmist and when I entered her mystic shop she suddenly sat back and I stopped, wondering what seemed to startle her. "Come in, come in" she said, waving me in. "I have to tell you that I have never seen anyone with so many spirits around them and so much protection."

T Robertson

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