By Robert Muir
Federation Council is currently advertising for a manager and two administration officers to run its Ball Park Caravan Park, with advertising in Federation Council Snippets in The Free Press.
Council is pushing ahead with the decision to undertake master-planning works at the park with renewal and improvements works to follow.
The master-plan works result from a series of reports council received earlier this year on safety issues within the park.
In March this year, council decided, based on the findings of two independent reports, to not renew any of the site agreements in the Ball Park Caravan Park after June 30 this year.
Council also decided to not re-contract the management of the Park from July 1, and that the park be managed under an employee model.
Federation Council General Manager Adrian Butler told the Free Press that over the last 11 months, under the new short term contract, that council has been heavily involved in all aspects of the park’s operation, in a move to understand more about the financial performance and future potential of the park, and to work towards a master-plan to guide the much needed renewal of the park.
“The decision by council was not an easy one, or one taken lightly,” Mr. Butler said.
“Council understands this decision, requiring the park to be cleared of all vans and associated structures, has and will continue to cause distress to many of the long term guests who have visited the park, some for over 40 years.
“Council also understands this will impact upon local businesses including clubs and other organisations, if many of those visitors are not able to gain alternate sites in Corowa, or are not able to return with movable vans for holidays.
“Council has been heartened by the approach of many who have understood council’s position, and who have asked to be kept updated on future opportunities and to offer their input to help inform the renewal journey.
“The community consultation along various stages of this work, to include local stakeholders, and the many who currently hold agreements to occupy the park, along with a new business plan, will all assist to inform what the future makeup of the park looks like.”
Council has advised that the park is not closing entirely, and will operate the 20 cabins, along with many of the powered and unpowered sites for visitors.
Council stated that on the tree risks alone in the park, that there have been nine separate incidents from branches dropping, from July last year until March this year, with all being identified as near misses.
Mr Butler said council places an extremely high priority on safety, and managing risk, both for guests, visitors and workers in the park, and the tree risk is not considered acceptable in any shape or form.
“The level of risk with the trees, means council has to reach a decision which could involve a combination of pruning some, and removing others, and also in some instances, requiring sites to be removed,” he said.
“Council, whilst acknowledging the safety of park users, also places a high environmental value on its native trees, and will also be guided by community consultation and other requirements including legislation, regarding the management of the trees in the park.”