Council vote confirms end of Mooloolaba Caravan Park
CAMPING adventures, first swimming lessons and beachside childhoods were recounted, but memories are all they'll remain, as Sunshine Coast councillors sealed the Mooloolaba Caravan Park's fate.
Not even a last-ditch push to try to have the van park at the northern end of The Esplanade Heritage-listed could save the iconic site, as councillors voted for advancement over antiquity.
Are you happy with the decision council has made for the caravan park?
This poll ended on 15 December 2015.
Yes, bring on the water park and tidal rock pool.
No, the caravan park was iconic.
It doesn't bother me because I don't visit Mooloolaba often.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
Meeting for the final time in 2015, councillors yesterday voted 7-4 in favour of adopting the Place Making Mooloolaba Master Plan, setting the wheels in motion for the wind-up of the caravan park once the current lease expires in June 2017.
While the master plan was set to deliver 40% more public space, a water park, tidal rock pool,extended pathways and better parking solutions, there was plenty of conjecture over whether the caravan park should remain.
Impassioned pleas from Councillor Greg Rogerson, the mover of the motion to try to have the site Heritage-listed which was ultimately defeated 9-2 (Cr Jenny McKay and Cr Rogerson voting for Heritage listing) prior to the master plan debate, were not enough to save the site.
Plenty of support was evident for the overall master plan.
However, a petition for Heritage listing and preservation of the campsite garnered almost 3500 signatures.
Yesterday's decision was met with disappointment by long-term holidaymakers.
Brisbane couple Michael and Bev Preston's youngest son had his first Christmas at the beachfront site. He is now 36.
Ms Preston said her grandmother and her granddaughter had stayed on the same site over the years, marking five generations of holiday-making on Mooloolaba's beachfront.
Her grandmother and aunt had booked the site before she and her husband took it over.
"Nowhere else measures up," Ms Preston said.
"It can take you all day to read the paper because I just watch the waves splashing on the rocks."
Mr and Ms Preston were saddened by the council meeting's outcome.
"I think we will have a wake," Ms Preston said.
The meeting was a difficult one for many councillors, a number of whom had enjoyed their own experiences at the iconic site but a common thread was the potential the master plan held and the benefits to all if the site was returned to public space.
"When I stand before you today, all I see is opportunity," Deputy Mayor and Divisional Councillor Chris Thompson said, acknowledging the challenges to be overcome in the early formation of the plans.
"The outcomes of this master plan are really outstanding."
After much debate, the master plan was endorsed, prevailing 7-4, with Councillors McKay, Rogerson, Jason O'Pray and Ted Hungerford all voting against the plans, a mixture of concern over the focus of the plans and disagreement over why the caravan park had to be lost.
Meanwhile, the Beachfront Caravan Park manager Lee Nelson, who'd managed the Mooloolaba Beach Holiday Park for the past five years, said he was disappointed the northern site would be closed in 2017.
"They were earning money from the park," Mr Nelson said.
"It's going to start costing them now."
He said it wasn't just out-of-towners who were opposed to the site's closure.
"Even a lot of the local residents didn't want it to go. Local businesses didn't want it to go," he said.
Regional Planning portfolio holder Councillor Christian Dickson said the decision on which way to go had weighed heavily, but ultimately it came down to the chance to embrace progress.