We note that the South Gippsland Shire CEO has tried to deflect from the woeful business practices his administration has practiced in relation to these parks (Port Welshpool and Yanakie) by suggesting that tourists would not stay in the parks and hence council needed to be the business operators.
To most ratepayers this is an affront by the CEO when he is spending our money. To me it seems the caravan parks operated and generated activity in the shire without the ratepayers needing to spend a vast sum on their operations.
I have acknowledged that council may have a role to play in managing these Crown Land sites.
However I believe these parks can be suitably controlled by appropriate mechanisms in a business lease.
At least with a lease the community has a transparent figure that we can see the caravan parks contribute to the Budget.
Are ratepayers aware that the Council Budget has listed the following capital expenditure for the caravan parks over the next 10 years as follows:
• Yanakie Caravan Park – total $1,957,590
• Welshpool Caravan Park – total $636,144 plus a toilet block of $376,419 making a total of $1,012,563.
Along with capital expenditure on the Waratah Bay Park a total of over $3.3 million over the next 10 years or around $165 per rate assessment is being considered.
The above are capital expenditures and not operating expenditures.
If they are anything like the current levels of around $1 million per annum these parks are costing the ratepayers a fortune.
If we allow the current wage bill to grow like the growth in the senior officers at the council of over 5.5 per cent per annum over the past 10 years then these caravan parks will cost us a fortune into the future.
These figures do not include the costs on the council bureaucracy to manage this business venture using our money.
I call on the councillors in this Budget process to cease this business operation and put the caravan parks out for suitable leasing arrangements.
Lindsay Love, Leongatha.