Holiday van tariffs set to rise
STATE-driven changes to the Silver Sands Holiday Park at Evans Head may mean a premature end to family-friendly camping.
A State government Draft Masterplan and Business Development Strategy for the Evans Head Recreation Reserve which incorporates the Silver Sands Caravan Park, has outlined major changes that will take place over eight years.
The draft plan outlines this strategy:
To significantly increase the holiday van tariffs so as sites occupied for that purpose achieve a similar yield to what is achieved by identical sites which are available for tourist use. It is likely that a tariff increase will result in the departure of some holiday vans.
The draft plan predicts that at the end of the eight-year program the number of holiday vans will have reduced by 28 to less than one hundred.
Families concerned about the changes include the Ross/Goodlad/Mills/Moffitt clans who have gathered together for the past 35 years from Casino, Brisbane, Bonalbo and Woodenbong to holiday next to the Evans River.
But their family tradition extends far beyond that, with a great-great grandfather and his brother travelling on horseback from Tenterfield, off the ranges and onto the coast, setting up their annual Christmas camp upstream of where Evans Head stands today.
That was before the town ever existed.
So it is no wonder that this extended family yearns for a future site in what will become a radically different holiday park at Evans Head.
“We know everyone who camps here,” Margaret Ross explained. “As you walk down the road you have a chat with everyone.
“We help celebrate with all our friends and family here and we help out too.”
Like many inland residents from the Richmond Valley area, the family have become temporary occupants of the caravan park for the summer holidays enjoying the camaraderie and natural beauty of the surrounding area.
The family have become concerned, however, that their holiday haven for the past four decades may change.
“It will become too expensive,” Mrs Ross said. “Families won’t be able to afford it.”
Holding her baby daughter, Belinda Baker of Casino expressed concern that an increase in charges would force the beach mission group, Scripture Union to stop running their programs for the children of the park every summer.
“We went to all their activities when we were kids,” she said. “It was a great way to spend a holiday.”
The draft plan proposes to actually reduce the number of sites from the current 577 to 505 with a small percentage of those being deluxe cabins aimed at the higher end of the market.
With a smaller number of sites to yield revenue the only way a tariff can go will be up.
It seems for holidaying Richmond Valley families there may be a lot less to celebrate in the coming years.