Council to lease caravan park

LISMORE councillors will consider leasing, rather than selling, the Nimbin Caravan Park at their meeting next month.

The caravan park, which provides affordable housing for many on low incomes, was earmarked for possible sale lastDecember to shore up the council’s finances.

The council called for expressions of interest to sell, lease or manage the park that has eight permanent residents living among its 75 sites – only 21 sites have power connected.

The council’s manager ofassets and support services, Scott Turner, said only four submissions were received.

“What it really comes downto is what is the council’s prefer-ence,” he said.

“If limiting council’s exposure to further costs is its prime consideration ... then we should sell it.

“However, if the social considerations are more at the top of council’s list, then selling it is perhaps not the best idea.”

Mr Turner told a council workshop on the issue on Tuesday night that before the site could be sold it would need to be subdivided from Nimbin pool, which will remain in council hands.

The amenities block wouldalso need to be upgraded before the park went on the market, as well as the construction of new power and water infrastructure, with total costs expected to be between $190,000 and $280,000, he said.

Based on the expressions of interest, once these costs were taken into account ‘the profit would not be a large amount’, Mr Turner said.

Mayor Jenny Dowell said while she did not want to pre-empt any decision by fellow councillors, she ‘guessed’ most would prefer to keep the park in council ownership and lease it to a private operator to ensure continued affordable housing in Nimbin.

“But the caravan park should be more profitable than it is,” she said.

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