Email to M/s Kristy Ponting

Attention M/s Kristy Ponting

Operations Manager

Caravan Parks Association of Queensland.

Dear M/s Ponting, it was with interest that I read an article in today’s Sunday Mail entitled ‘No joy at van parks’.

Actually it was with interest and some disappointment.

Disappointment because I was approached by the Courier Mail journalist accredited with that article earlier this month and asked to comment on the subject of the excessive site costs in today’s caravan parks and how that has impacted on free and low cost camping, none of what I said in my interview nor any of the many photographs taken appeared with the article today.

I was initially approached because of comments I made on this hotly debated issue on various ‘Grey Nomad’ websites recently, I have been quite outspoken on the subject of caravan park site fees and in particular the practice of a number of caravan park operators across Australia in attempting to have free and low cost camping sites restricted or closed down.

Your input in today’s Sunday Mail infers that site costs are in some way affected by what was termed ‘…an ‘uneven playing field’ and ‘tough regulations’. I have to admit that my observations in relation to the high cost of caravan sites have been quite different.

Let me say here that my information has been obtained over 30+ years of caravanning and camping in most states of Australia, for the past 5 years my wife and I, now retired  have enjoyed what is  known as ‘grey nomading’, our preference is for free or low coast camping, we will however occasionally use established caravan parks. 

My knowledge is gleaned from the numerous ‘happy hour’ campfire discussions as well as with discussions numerous caravan park owners and managers.

Your inference therefore that this ‘uneven playing field and tough regulations’ being a factor and the cause of high site fees is totally new to me and has never been raised as an issue before, to this point my own conclusions formed are that high costs are more related to the propensity of many, or most, caravan parks of installing cabins at the expense of caravan sites, our observations are that while these cabins will attract customers at the busy times they appear to be quite vacant at most other times, I formed the opinion that the obviously high cost of installing cabins was being recouped via the caravan sites. This opinion somewhat strengthened by recent news that some caravan parks are in fact removing cabins. Of course many other reasons for the high cost of operating caravan parks is often attributed to electricity and/or wages, water charges  or all the things other industries need to contend with also.

It is unfortunate that on a number of occasions most recently we have heard of caravan park operators who refute claims that many rural business’ owe their existence to caravan travellers, that they don’t spend money in the towns, I refer in particular to those travellers attracted to areas where shire councils, mindful of the community benefits, make available free or low cost camping to ‘self contained’ travellers. I would suspect that a number of these businesses would be quite unnerved by your comments today.

So, your input in today’s article has me somewhat disturbed, I am always ready  to correct any erroneous information that I may be associated with and I am about to do so in connection to comments that I have previously made  on social media and caravaners owners websites to which I subscribe. 

With this in mind I wonder if I might trouble you to tell me what these tough regulations are and  how they impact on caravan parks, in particular existing caravan parks.  Could  you also  please supply  examples of where caravan parks might have been adversely affected by any council run facilities because of these regulations.

I am eager to correct my stance on this matter and respectively await your response at the earliest possible time.

Yours sincerely,

Paul F Greig

Brisbane

Queensland.

Copy of email sent to M/s Ponting June 15 2014

No response was received.