Free overnighters raise alarm

South Western Times - - News - Kate Field­ing

A trial of free overnight rest ar­eas in Bun­bury has trig­gered con­cerns from the city’s ex­ist­ing car­a­van park op­er­a­tors.

Fol­low­ing months of con­sul­ta­tion and knock backs of po­ten­tial lo­ca­tions, Bun­bury City Coun­cil is next week ex­pected to sup­port a two-year trial of free rest ar­eas for fully self-con­tained ve­hi­cles.

Park­ing ar­eas at Wyalup Rocky Point, Ocean Drive and Maid­ens Re­serve have been ear­marked for the trial.

While it is hoped the ini­tia­tive will boost vis­i­tor num­bers and pro­vide eco­nomic ben­e­fits for the city, it has prompted op­po­si­tion from car­a­van park op­er­a­tors.

Dis­cov­ery Parks Bun­bury man­ager Richard Mur­phy claims the ini­tia­tive will re­duce com­mer­cial parks’ rev­enue by $144,540 a year and the cho­sen ar­eas are “wrong”.

“Free camp­ing is for re­mote ar­eas or ar­eas that do not have com­mer­cial based op­er­a­tors – then it is ad­van­ta­geous, but not in a city where there are three op­er­a­tors within the CBD area and oth­ers in the sur­round­ing ar­eas,” Mr Mur­phy said.

Bun­bury Glade Car­a­van Park man­ager Ainslee Brady said the ar­eas cho­sen had “high rates of op­por­tunis­tic crime” and the ini­tia­tive would have a detri­men­tal ef­fect on the city.

“The lost rev­enue will have a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on parks and will have a di­rect im­pact on these parks’ abil­ity to op­er­ate in a sus­tain­able man­ner, as well as their em­ploy­ment ca­pa­bil­i­ties,” Ms Brady said.

The coun­cil has also re­ceived sev­eral pos­i­tive com­ments in­clud­ing sup­port from Eastern States and Bun­bury res­i­dents.

South West De­vel­op­ment Com­mis­sion act­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive Re­becca Ball com­mended the coun­cil on ef­forts to make Bun­bury an RV friendly des­ti­na­tion.

Mayor Gary Bren­nan said the con­cerns were “un­der­stand­able” but while the ini­tia­tive would have some ef­fect, it would not ad­versely im­pact op­er­a­tors.

“If they didn’t have free overnight park­ing ar­eas they might choose – if they wanted to stay in Bun­bury – to go to a reg­is­tered car­a­van park, but on the other hand maybe if they didn’t have free park­ing in Bun­bury they might travel to a lo­ca­tion where there is free park­ing,” Mr Bren­nan said.

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