KEMPSEY Shire mayor Liz Campbell has debunked claims the council has approved the removal of campsites at the Crescent Head Holiday Park.
Cr Campbell was responding to a recent change.org petition signed by over a thousand people that said the council was planning to remove nine campsites at the holiday park to make way for nine cabins.
This would require the removal of most of the valuable shade trees along Killick Creek, used by many day visitors and campers on hot summer days, the petition said.
“Camping and caravanning has never been more popular, and the loss of these valuable sites to ugly cabins would destroy the unique nature of the Crescent Head foreshore,” the petition, which was a response to the council’s draft Business Management Plan for Kempsey Shire Council Caravan Parks 2016-2021, stated.
The mayor said the draft plan, prepared by SGL Consulting Group Australia Pty Ltd, was drawn up to give council an independent review of the current operations of the shire’s five holiday parks – at Hat Head, Horseshoe Bay, Grassy Head, Stuarts Point and Crescent Head – including a business assessment of the operations and what opportunities might exist for their future management.
She rejected the claims made in the petition, saying the council would not have approved replacing campsites with cabins without consulting the community first.
“I think it has been read in isolation,” Cr Campbell said of the draft plan.
“When the consultants were looking at the parks they identified that there could be, and I repeat could be, the potential for the development, but it also recognised that the Crescent Head community doesn’t support that.
“If so, engagement would obviously take place with residents first.”
Cr Campbell also said the council would be using the draft management plan for the holiday parks as a guideline for developing a new expression of interest and tender process for their management.
Five-year contracts for the running of the parks began on July 1, 2011 and will run out on June 30.
“It is a lengthy process to develop the tender documents and eventually award a tender which would establish how the holiday parks are managed in the future and what capital investments or changes might be included in that management,” Cr Campbell said.
“The draft business management plan identifies that broader community interests should be taken into account when determining final capital works programs.
“The council is very aware of the need to conduct considerable community engagement with residents and visitors to the area regarding the development of a plan of management for the Crescent Head foreshore, with the holiday park just one component in this vital space.
“The council looks forward to engaging with the community later in the year and particularly those that have been active in discussing the future of camping at Crescent Head Holiday Park.”
The tender for the holiday parks is expected to go out in April. Residents can find out more at the council’s website: kempsey.nsw.gov.au