For more than nine years now, my family has been frequenting the Cape Paterson area.
In the early years we joined my close friend Geoff Dahlsen (CEO of Dahlsen’s) and family to stay over the Christmas/New Year period at their property on Surf Beach Road.
One year, a group of 12 parents travelled from Melbourne and collectively stayed at the Cape Paterson Caravan Park (CPCP), where we first met the manager of the park and his family.
Collectively, to a person, we were greatly impressed with the facility and also the way we and our children were treated. Since that first stay in 2010, our family has religiously returned to the CPCP for a two-week stay in weeks two and three of the New Year in the onsite Ocean View cabin.
Having spent 40 years travelling to Batemans Bay, it was a delight to find such an affordable and comfortable arrangement so much closer to home in Melbourne. We have had occasion to stay at the park in the off season also.
When David Wilson informed us that the lease for the park was up for re-tender, we could scarcely have contemplated that he and his family would be excluded from the opportunity to continue to manage this great facility and was shocked to hear that a decision to discontinue the arrangement had been set in place.
And we were extremely disappointed to hear that the cabins, which we and others love so much, were not being purchased by the new lessee – so they will go. Cape Paterson is a very small community and has few accommodation options for those that would choose to come to the area.
We have continued to come to this area year after year, specifically because of the type and price of the onsite cabins on offer at CPCP.
Were these cabins to be removed, as a consequence of the discontinuity of lessee, our family would certainly be disinclined to holiday in the district.
OK, so we may only be one small family of five and I guess the money we spend in Wonthaggi doesn’t amount to millions of dollars, but it certainly runs into the region of $25K+ over the years. Breakfasts and lunches in Inverloch, dinners at the Cape Paterson pub, dinners at the Caly, golf at Inverloch, two tyres at Beaurepaires this year – it all adds up.
And David and his cabins are the reason that the district gets our business.
But I think the thing that I find so utterly bewildering, is why you would think concentrating the ownership of van park leases in the district in the hands of one operator – at the expense of long-term incumbents (David, Bev and Sallie Wilson) who have invested $100s of $1000s of dollars in fantastic infrastructure, is an appropriate way to conduct council business?
To me it leaves an extremely bad taste and the suspicion that the decision to award the lease to anyone other than the incumbent, has been based on factors other than fairness, decency and transparency. I urge those charged with the decision-making process to re-open the tender process, to table every element of the decision-making model and to provide the community with the evidence that a fair and reasonable process has been followed.
In closing, I suggest that anything short of an open tender process assessment, promotes the odious scourge of malfeasance.
Andrew Lockwood, Glen Iris.