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Takeover final

Job security: assistant manager Lynn Watt and groundsman Kevin Teasdale are current employees at the Long Jetty Caravan Park in Port Welshpool.

SOUTH Gippsland Shire Council will take over the management of Yanakie’s and Port Welshpool’s caravan parks in the second half of the year.

Council has voted to end the expression of interest process for the leasing of the two parks and to take over their management.

Council’s property manager Chris Van Der Ark said taking on the parks was a new direction for council.

“The opportunity arose to review services and to take on the management role of the two parks. Council used to manage them and the opportunity only comes up every 21 years,” she said.

“Currently the other Crown land parks in South Gippsland, Korumburra and Waratah Bay, are not under council management and Korumburra has just been re-leased for 21 years.”

Ms Van Der Ark said while council has some of the necessary skills and operational tools to run the parks, a caretaker would be employed to run them.

“We are hoping for a caretaker model. We will look to employ casuals in the peak seasons to help with the increased workloads,” she said.

“We will be using local people for maintenance, ground keeping and services. It will pretty much be the same as what exists, except the manager will be a council employee.”

Council is aware of some political matters at each of the parks, including the State Government’s Improving Equity of Access policy, which relates to camping on Crown land.

“There are some matters that should be looked into, for example, the policy dictates that people aren’t supposed to live in caravan parks on Crown land and access to them should be provided to everyone,” Ms Van Der Ark said.

“There are a lot of annuals at each park. We have to look at that as custodians of the land and make sure we are complying with policy.”

Yanakie Caravan Park will be taken over in September and Long Jetty in November. Ms Van Der Ark sees no reason for the parks to be closed at any stage during the transition process.

“Council is in talks with the existing leaseholders to design a transition program and to discuss whether or not council will purchase existing cabins. So far, they have been very amicable conversations,” she said.

Extensive work has been carried out on future development and management options for these parks.

“Currently, there are no major changes allowed for in the budget. We are aware of important works that could be attended to in the future, but we are yet to determine a development plan,” Ms Van Der Ark said.

“Our research has given us an understanding of what is required for them to eventually run at optimum levels.

“At the moment we don’t know what the profits are, as we don’t have access to the figures but we are pretty confident they make a profit.

“We have done some modelling and planning for the longer term, including staff and maintenance and we think they will run self sufficiently.

“There are no plans to sell the land, as it is Crown land so it is impossible. We are committee of management, not the owners, so the decision to sell cannot be made by council. It hadn’t even entered our heads.”

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=7193

Posted by on May 21 2013. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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