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Van fee slug

From far and wide: Enjoying their time in Meeniyan were Rodger Hyde (Essex, England), Anna Farley, Ray Browne, Brenda Jackson and Beryl Hyde.

LEONGATHA has missed the chance to host 60 travellers willing to spend money in the town.
The members of the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia refused to pay fees to stay in Leongatha last night (Monday) and tonight, but will now stay at Meeniyan for free, boosting that town’s economy.
The club’s Charity Safari was to stop at the Leongatha Recreation Reserve but relocated to Meeniyan after the reserve committee requested payment.
A representative from the Leongatha Football Club confirmed the motorhome club had agreed to pay $200 to use the football clubrooms, but would not pay $10 a night for each of the 32 vans – equating to $640 – for land hire.
Safari road boss Alan Lawson said as a charity event, the group had budget restrictions and had never paid to stay at reserves before.
“In 11 years we’ve always been welcomed into the towns because we’re a charity safari,” he said.
“Unfortunately we don’t have the budget to stay at the Leongatha Rec Reserve.”
Mr Lawson said the group brings business to the towns they visit.
“They buy petrol, groceries and souvenirs, so it does add up to quite an amount of money with 32 vans and around 60 people,” he said.
“Of course, that will still be spent in Meeniyan.”
Reserve committee member Jim Fawcett said visitors should make a contribution to ongoing maintenance of the grounds.
“It’s becoming a more common occurrence and the committee felt there should be some payment to cover the costs of electricity, maintenance and the fact it is an inconvenience to have 30 or 40 motorhomes parked,” he said.
“We need to justify that inconvenience to the community by charging a small fee to stay at the grounds.”
Mr Fawcett said past experiences had been taken into account.
Recently, a touring motorhome group had a faulty electricity pole repaired without first consulting the committee, which was forwarded a bill totalling almost $800.
“We’ve had difficulty with people staying on the reserve without permission on the basis that they’ve seen homes there,” Mr Fawcett said,
“It’s putting an unfair obligation on the reserve committee to deal with the issue and demand that they leave.”
Leongatha Chamber of Commerce president, Darryl McGannon said the chamber was approached by the CMCA about six months ago and supported their visit.
He was aware they had changed plans and were now staying in Meeniyan.
“Of course it’s disappointing for Leongatha because when you talk about that number of people coming into town, it’s always good for business,” Mr McGannon said.
“We’re always happy to work with groups such as this and invite them to the town.”
South Gippsland Shire Council tourism manager Christian Stefani said he was still under the impression the safari was staying in Leongatha and was disappointed plans had changed.
“We had prepared show bags for the group promoting the whole region to get people to stay and explore more, obviously shop in the area and come back and bring more people,” he said.
“The main point is that we welcome people that come to the area and we try and get them to come back.”
Members of the Charity Safari are camping at the Meeniyan Recreation Reserve and will use the scout hall and reserve facilities.
Meeniyan Progress Association president Frank Arndt said the group would be welcomed with open arms.
“We’ll be glad to see them. There are three or four good eating places in town and hopefully there’ll be more facilities for them in the near future,” he said, referring to plans to install a dump station at the reserve.
The group will still involve Leongatha in their trip, with a dinner planned at the Woorayl Golf Club tonight.

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Posted by on Mar 22 2011. Filed under Community, 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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