WHEN South Gippsland Shire Council decided back in 2013 that it would take over direct management of the Yanakie and Long Jetty caravan parks, it confidently predicted a big income earner.
The business case for Yanakie Caravan Park predicted an income base of $765,291.87 by year 2017/18.
Figures presented to council at the very first public meeting on the Yanakie and Long Jetty caravan parks were a long way from that initial estimate.
For the year 2014/15: Income from Yanakie was $674,418, but expenditure was $577,115.
Income from Long Jetty was $402,850, expenditure $460,384.
Despite the figures, council’s assertion that the caravan parks could be a money-spinner, have come true – a modest profit of $39,769 was recorded.
The biggest costs were employee costs.
Negotiations for a new enterprise bargaining agreement between the union that represents council employees and the shire is set to start at the end of this calendar year.
Caravan Park coordinator Jock Wilson said most of the income from the parks was reinvested.
He said improvement at the parks included: solar hot water, power head replacements, improved lighting, landscaping, converting an old storage shed into a camp kitchen, re-sheeting roads, new cabins, refurbishing recreation rooms, office refurbishment and reseeding vacated sites.
He said improvements will continue this year (2015-16): playgrounds, power head replacements, demolishing old toilet blocks, barbecue area refurbishment, new and larger amenity blocks.
He said by the end of the year, the sites would be compliant with regulations, which is the primary reason council said it would take over the caravan parks.
Mr Wilson reported that by removing non-compliant caravans and annexes that were, in some cases, taking over two sites, the shire was able to hire out the sites much more profitably.
Mr Wilson did say however, the challenge for the parks was to update the amenities blocks, which limits the number of people who can stay in the parks.
He said there weren’t enough toilets at Long Jetty for the population that could use the park in the peak tourism season.
Mayor Jeanette Harding congratulated Mr Wilson and manager Sustainable Communities Chris Van Der Ark on their work on the caravan parks.
“It’s obvious a lot of work has gone in to it all and there has [previously] been quite a lot of loose talk.”
A master plan for the parks is currently being developed.
The next quarterly update, open to the public, will be on November 18.
Timeline for compliance
September 30: Invoices due
December 31: Non-compliant vans to be removed by owners
March 1, 2016: All non-compliant vans to be removed
May 1, 2016: No cabin owners will be invited to apply for a new permit. Yanakie has three cabins in this situation; Long Jetty has eight.
September 30, 2016: All cabins removed and parks are fully compliant.