One of Western Australia’s most popular tourist towns has voted against a plan to become “RV friendly” and offer free caravan camping areas.
- RV-friendly status would entail providing appropriate parking and amenities for caravanners
- Councillors raised concerns about providing free sites in direct competition with paid operators
- One grey nomad argued the debate had been skewed due to lobbying by local caravan parks
Albany council rejected a proposal by the Association of Caravan Clubs of WA (ACCWA) at its monthly meeting on Tuesday over concerns free sites within the CBD would hurt caravan parks financially.
In its application, the ACCWA said RV status would mean the provision of appropriate parking, amenities and services for caravanners.
This would include parking within the town centre and short-term parking for 24, 48 and 72 hours within a reasonable distance of the CBD.
Bad for business, council says
It was the latter which the council did not support, arguing it already provided free and low-fee camping grounds outside the CBD.
It comes after the Shire of Plantagenet closed its free RV campsite earlier this year after complaints from the town’s only caravan park.
At the meeting, caravan park owners and councillors raised concerns about providing free sites in direct competition with paid operators, and that the cost of an RV-friendly site would be too costly.
Councillor Matt Benson-Lidholm opposed the idea.
‘No need for free spots’
Luke Shuttleworth, who owns Big4 Emu Beach Holiday Park, spoke at the meeting and said Albany was a tourist destination unlike other smaller towns and that there was no need for it to go RV friendly.
Mr Shuttleworth said his park provided more than 30 jobs and urged councillors to decline the proposal.
Grey nomad Dave Yendell, who has caravanned for the past 14 years, argued the debate was skewed due to lobbying by local caravan parks.
“This report relies almost solely on submissions made by vested interests who are against RV overnight camping,” he said.