Van park reopens for holidays
By ANDY PARKS firstname.lastname@example.org A $2.3 MILLION upgrade to Clarks Beach Caravan Park in Byron Bay has been completed just in time for the summer holidays.
However, work on three other caravan parks taken over by the NSW Department of Lands in the Byron Shire is yet to begin.
NSW Lands Minister Tony Kelly was in Byron Bay yesterday to officially open the newly-refurbished caravan park, which has had 14 new cabins, including four duplexes, installed.
"We have put in new power, water and sewerage, and totally transformed this facility," Mr Kelly said. "Unless coastal resorts are continually rejuvenated, tourists will go somewhere else."
Clarks Beach, along with the Terrace Reserve, Ferry Reserve and Massey Greene caravan parks, all in Brunswick Heads, were taken over by the Department of Lands in July last year after ruling that the Byron Shire Council had allowed them to fall into disrepair. "They were run down and badly needed upgrading," Mr Kelly said.
Asked if there was any plan to hand back the management of the Clarks Beach Caravan Park to Byron Council, the Minister said it hadn't been discussed.
Mayor Jan Barham said she liked what had been done, but was frustrated by the process.
"What they have done has enhanced and protected the environmental values of the park, which are big sales and marketing points. It's low key and nature-based in a fantastic location," she said. "It's what we planned to do in 2000. We had a plan of management and a budget, but we couldn't get ministerial approval. We went through three different ministers and agencies and it got to the point where it was taken away from us."
The upgrade has also included planting native vegetation and the removal of noxious weeds such as bitou bush and coral tree.
The cost of a four-bedroom cabin is $185 a night during peak season.
Cr Barham said council was working co-operatively with the Department of Lands in seeking some sort of financial compensation because money from the management of the caravan parks was used to finance the management of other Crown Land areas in the shire.