It has come to our attention that what were once caravan parks with a full occupancy of yearly rentals contributing a lease rental of some $150,000 per annum to the South Gippsland Shire Council coffers have now been basically emptied of paying clients.
As well as losing this valuable park income the community has lost the community input from these valuable clients.
If we consider that these clients also spent around $200 per week for say the 12 weeks of holiday use then we have lost a further approximately $300,000 from input to local businesses such as the Yanakie store or Foster businesses in the case of the Yanakie Caravan Park.
If we add to this the council staffing costs of some four staff for the Yanakie caravan park at around $100,000 per employee and with little income then the Yanakie Caravan Park debacle has cost the community in the vicinity of $700,000 per annum.
There is little to show at the Yanakie Caravan Park for the supposed massive injection of funds.
We consider the same scenario is likely to have been executed at Port Welshpool. It was a similar size and was also trading and providing lease payments to the council.
That suggests the council has cost the community in the order of $1.4 million.
This great loss is hidden from the ratepayers at the same time as the shire CEO takes a massive pay increase such that he now earns more than the state premier.
Perhaps our only solace is that he has not wasted a billion dollars on a road we don’t have.
The Yanakie park mismanagement at Easter resulted in one toilet block being out of action and patrons having to queue for unreasonable time just to use a convenience.
The so-called benefit of removing foreshore trees left the park open and exposed to easterly winds coming across Corner Inlet.
The wind blast was so severe that it blew awnings astray and meant patrons left early. Along with the toilet issue patrons were bitterly disappointed and vowed not to return.
This council mismanagement is so disastrous that where there was a viable business operating and delivering rental funds to council, in the space of just three years there is no longer a business case for the caravan parks.
The income is less than the expenditure and the community is missing out on the other trade.
Where the council may have been able to set a new lease on a viable business for a substantial sum, the present situation means if the council was to now try and lease the business we would have to give it away.
In the meantime, we, the ratepayers, now have to carry the operating costs plus the capital expenditure costs for the parks.
This total is running at millions. The council does not even issue receipts for payments of thousands of dollars unless they are specifically requested to provide the same.
There is no one on deck at the Parks to provide any extra security of a night.
Council staff use a council car to come and go to the park.
Who at council is going to put their hands up and take ownership of this disastrous management? It is no wonder the CEO will not release the figures.
Given that it is hard to see where the large capital sums have been spent and council is not prepared to detail where it has gone and the sloppy management practices is it any wonder people are querying where the money is going.
Is the money being spent at the parks?
Councillors, it is time you took a hard look at this festering sore and did your job and controlled the administration – give them the direction to exit post haste and cease entertaining thoughts of taking over Waratah Bay. Is it true that there was a petition of 500 plus people seeking to save Waratah Bay caravan Park?
Lindsay Love, secretary, South Gippsland Action Group.