The Lake Ainsworth Caravan Park, one of three prime caravan park sites currently controlled by the Ballina Shire Council, but soon to be taken over by the NSW Government.
The Lake Ainsworth Caravan Park, one of three prime caravan park sites currently controlled by the Ballina Shire Council, but soon to be taken over by the NSW Government.

Council loses van parks

THE highly profitable caravan park at Lake Ainsworth in Lennox Head will not be controlled by Ballina Shire Council in the near future.

The council is set to lose control of three of the region’s caravan parks after it yesterday resigned as Reserve Trust Manager, on advice from the Land and Property Management Authority (LPMA).

The Ballina Central, Shaws Bay and Lake Ainsworth caravan parks will be transferred to State Government control.

This will remove more than $2 million from the council’s revenue stream.

Concerns have been also raised about the Government’s future plans for the sites.

But the council has made a list of preferred terms of its resignation, which will be negotiated by general manager Paul Hickey.

They include a four-year tiered reduction of the amount which the council charges for overheads on the three Crown reserve parks.

The council also wants the LPMA to consult on any redevelopments which might be planned, and for a management committee to be formed.

Cr Peter Moore said there was concern from people in the community about the future of the three caravan parks.

“We don’t want to get overrun with development that we don’t want,” he said.

Cr Robyn Hordern said losing control of the caravan parks made her ‘nervous’.

“I don’t have a lot of faith in the give and take with the State Government,” she said. “I don’t know how we can attack that problem.”

Cr Ben Smith agreed.

“We just have to continue to negotiate,” he said.

“But I am concerned about the real long term, in 15 or 20 years.”

Councillors also voted on the future of Rivafest at yesterday’s meeting, with Mayor Phillip Silver using his casting vote to support calling for exp- ressions of interest to take over the running of the event.

But he said he wasn’t sure if council would have any luck finding an organisation to take it over.

“Let’s try this, but I don’t think it will work,” he said.

“I think, if we have a budget of $47,000 for something, then we have to have a $47,000 event. That’s our lesson.”

Cr Sue Meehan agreed, saying it was ‘disappointing’ the festival had continued to go over-budget.

“We are running a champagne event on a beer budget,” she said.

Cr Sharon Cadwallader said she wanted to see an organisation take Riv- afest to the ‘next level’.

“Rivafest caters for everyone,” she said.

“There are so many elements which come into play.”

Cr Keith Johnson said there was no need to ‘kill’ Rivafest.

“It’s always difficult to stop doing what you have been doing for a while,” he said.

“But we have to take a deep breath and see if there’s a better way to achieve our goals.”

But as the council showed its support for one community event, another was scrapped.

Christmas Light Up won’t be held any more after it was decided the time and money being put into it could be better used elsewhere.

Cr David Wright said environmental concerns meant the event was no longer as popular as it had once been.

Cr Moore said cancelling Christmas Light Up would not stop people from decorating their homes, while Cr Jeff Johnson said he was pleased to see the council pull out of the event.



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