The free camping area at Kershaw Gardens was empty yesterday after Rockhampton caravan park owners took legal action through Caravan Association Queensland against Rockhampton Regional Council to cease the operation.
The free camping area at Kershaw Gardens was empty yesterday after Rockhampton caravan park owners took legal action through Caravan Association Queensland against Rockhampton Regional Council to cease the operation. Shayla Bulloch

Please don't boycott Rocky pleads tourist company

CARAVANNING Queensland says it is disappointed that there has been talk of caravanners boycotting Rockhampton following a landmark court ruling.

Last week the Planning and Environment Court ruled against Rockhampton Regional Council, finding the use of Kershaw Gardens for RV accommodation was unlawful under the Planning Act.

READ HERE: Tourism threat as grey nomads kicked out of Kershaw

Rockhampton Regional Council now has until 4pm on February 15, 2019, to stop illegal camping and RV accommodation in Kershaw Gardens.

Caravanning Queensland general manager of parks, Michelle Weston, urged travellers not to boycott Rocky.

"No drive holiday in Queensland is complete without seeing the mighty Fitzroy River, experiencing the easy-going country hospitality, learning about the state's history, fossick for thundereggs, visiting Australia's gold mining towns, throw in a line for some incredible fishing or check out the award winning, above-ground limestone caves at Capricorn Caves," Ms Weston said.

READ HERE: Brisbane nomads after Kershaw camping ban

"To hear in recent days that caravanners are planning on bypassing this beautiful part of our state or calling on travellers to boycott the region is disappointing, especially when Rockhampton City Council had been unlawful in allowing the use of Kershaw Gardens for RV accommodation."

Traveller Wally who declined to reveal his real name said the court decision meant he would never stay in Rocky again.

"On average including fuel, food, liquid refreshments, entertainment, vehicle servicing etc. average about $250 for my stay while passing through to Yeppoon, Emerald and further south,." he said.

"Sorry to say never will we stay in Rocky again and trust me check the social media for the amount who think the same, I think the caravan parks will see a decline as well as the boycott begins.

"So thanks Rocky Council for giving it a go for us and shame on you Caravan Parks Association of Qld."

After originally raising its concerns in July 2014, Caravanning Queensland says it was left with no choice but to pursue legal action in late 2017 against Rockhampton Regional Council, saying the use of Kershaw Gardens for free camping was unlawful and constituted a development offence under the Planning Act 2016 (Qld) due to the absence of an effective development permit for the use.

Ms Weston said the Association was pleased with the court's decision which has provided certainty to their members in the region.

"The Association was always of the view that the accommodation use of Kershaw Gardens went beyond the ordinary use of a park," Ms Weston said.



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