Camping and caravan park approved for Kialla

By Ashlea Witoslawski

A controversial caravan and camping park has been approved by Greater Shepparton City Council for 215 Mitchell Rd, Kialla.

The 104-hectare property is set to be developed in four stages, with 20 per cent of the land to be used for accommodation and the remainder to be used for Aboriginal cultural heritage tours as well as a restaurant, produce store and cultural centre.

Three previous planning applications have been submitted for this land, with the first in 2013 rejected by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) due to concerns regarding access to the site and zoning issues as the land is currently in a Farming and Urban Floodway Zone.

Two more planning applications were received by council in 2016 and refused due to inconsistencies with the planning policies and further issues with Farming Zone guidelines.

The Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority also objected to the applications at the time.

Having dealt with VCAT’s concerns, the planning proposal comprises a total of 350 cabins with a mix of one, two and three bedrooms.

There will also be a total of 75 caravan sites upon completion.

A council meeting agenda states the planning proposal “seeks to provide an experience for grey nomad travellers and Chinese tourists that celebrates the region’s agricultural land uses, Aboriginal cultural heritage and the natural landscapes of the Sevens Creek environment.”

During the November ordinary council meeting last week, Cr Les Oroszvary said the project would bring employment opportunities to the region.

“I believe this will be a $31 million investment,” he said.

Cr Bruce Giovanetti said the development would provide a significant boost for accommodation numbers and Aboriginal employment opportunities.

“This particular project will benefit Greater Shepparton as a whole and I think it will be a significant boon for our municipality,” he said.

During post-meeting talks, City of Greater Shepparton mayor Seema Abdullah said the plan for the camping and caravan park “is still at a high-level conceptual phase.”

“At this stage it’s a site plan, not even a design plan, so we’ll have to wait on what details come along as we go,” she said.

Now the planning permit has been approved by council, Cr Abdullah says the developers will have two years to begin construction on the site and four years to complete the project.