Car­a­van park’s $1m re­vamp

Augusta Margaret River Times - - News - War­ren Hately

The Shire of Au­gusta-Mar­garet River will go ahead with a master plan to guide a $1 mil­lion-plus re­de­vel­op­ment of Au­gusta’s Turner Car­a­van Park.

It was not a clear-cut de­ci­sion, made at a rare Au­gusta coun­cil meet­ing last week, with sev­eral elected mem­bers con­cerned about the evic­tion of el­derly ten­ants and whether the pro­ject was worth the in­vest­ment.

But Cr Mike Smart — who voted to sup­port the long-stalled pro­ject mov­ing ahead — said it was not ratepayer funds but the pro­ceeds from car­a­van parks fund­ing the plan to build new chalets and re­lo­cate other long-term park users.

Dis­sent among coun­cil­lors was re­flected in an hour-long break to dis­cuss the con­fi­den­tial bud­get­ing at­tached to the pro­posal, and then a se­ries of com­pli­cated amend­ments put for­ward by mem­bers.

Coun­cil­lors Peter Lane and Naomi God­den failed in a bid to de­fer the item for fur­ther as­sess­ment.

The fi­nal amended pro­posal was sup­ported by five coun­cil­lors, with coun­cil­lors God­den and Pauline McLeod vot­ing against it.

Ob­jec­tor Cr God­den said the plan raised ques­tions about so­cial hous­ing, while Cr McLeod said the res­o­lu­tion “is like a white­wash for evic­tion when we (the coun­cil) feel like it”.

Cr Smart said the coun­cil was “com­pas­sion­ate”, but it “was not pos­si­ble to work around those peo­ple in the dress cir­cle”.

The de­ci­sion paves the way for fur­ther lu­cra­tive con­sul­tancy work — In­no­viv Park Ser­vices are the third con­sul­tants to work on the pro­ject since 2008 — adding de­tailed design el­e­ments to the con­cept master plan de­vel­oped last year.

If the Shire re­ceives at least eight ex­pres­sions of in­ter­est, Turner’s Karri Ter­race area will also be re­de­vel­oped as a pri­or­ity pro­ject.

“It is recog­nised that this area of the park al­ready re­quires sig­nif­i­cant in­fras­truc­ture re­newal due to its age and poor con­di­tion, all of which has been de­layed due to its low de­mand and other higher pri­or­i­ties within the park,” the re­port said.

Long-term park users will have leases ex­tended to May, with many at­tend­ing last week’s meet­ing to voice dis­be­lief the Shire would turf them out — and lose their an­nual fees — in favour of chalets cater­ing to more up-mar­ket clien­tele.

South Perth’s Mau­rice Hayes said un­cer­tainty around the re­de­vel­op­ment “scared the crap out of all of us”.

“Peo­ple have been loyal,” he told coun­cil­lors. “Why throw away the $150,000-$160,000 we give you ev­ery quar­ter?”

Cr McLeod voiced dis­com­fort at sev­eral older per­ma­nent res­i­dents likely to make way for new chalets, while Cr Lane said it was cru­cial the re­de­vel­op­ment re­tain Turner’s laid­back vibe and not cre­ate an “elite” river­front area tra­versed by other park users.

“I re­ally found that part of the plan quite ob­jec­tion­able,” he said.

Cr Lane also wanted more fi­nan­cial anal­y­sis and de­tail about place­ment of chalets, which would be de­liv­ered thanks to an amend­ment by Cr God­den.

De­fend­ing the pro­ject, Au­gustabased mem­ber Cr Smart said he rode through Turner al­most daily, and ac­knowl­edged ear­lier, far more ex­pen­sive vi­sions for the re­de­vel­op­ment were “hor­ren­dous”.

How­ever, “the on­go­ing ben­e­fits to the com­mu­nity are huge,” he said. “We are very con­cerned about get­ting this right.

“It’s hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars of ben­e­fit that would then be put back into the park.”

Users re­quired to move would re­ceive “a de­gree of both fi­nan­cial and lo­gis­ti­cal sup­port to re­lo­cate them,” the fi­nal res­o­lu­tion said.

Turner Car­a­van Park in Au­gusta is set for an over­haul af­ter last week’s coun­cil de­ci­sion.

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