Mallacoota Foreshore Holiday Park Masterplan

Mallacoota Foreshore Holiday Park Masterplan – Final Draft Issues and Opportunities Report

Submissions re the Mallacoota Foreshore Camp Park Issues and Opportunities Report are due 29/2/12. They would prefer Emails egipps.vic.gov.au but one can post one’s submission to E.G.S.C , PO Box 1618, Bairnsdale 3875.

draft Issues and Opportunities report (PDF 3.6Mb) Recently we held a meeting to discus the upcoming close of submissions for comment on the above document. This was a meeting where concerned citizens could meet and ‘get to the bottom’ of what the document was on about. Ros McVean kindly consented to give a close reading of the document and enumerate what she felt were it’s main points, pluses and shortcomings. A report on this meeting has been kindly prepared by Mary Ann Crocker and can be read further down this page. Please find below the PowerPoint slides that Ros prepared for the meeting which deal with some of the main points made by the document and offer some comments on it’s shortcomings. PLEASE REFER TO THE SOURCE DOCUMENT SEE LINK ABOVE

MASTERPLAN

•Roadmap – development of assets, business development opportunities, feature attractions (p3)

•Purpose – ensure future viability of The Park business (i.e. town economy), in keeping with the ongoing recreational needs of the community (p3)

•Community engagement process –

–consideration of the majority of views of the community and tourism attractiveness (p3)

–need to seek certainty amongst community views on future planning of The Park in order to progress (p10)

–secure consensus to process to investing existing and future revenue back into The Park (p10)

NO PLAN TO COMMENT ON

•No site plan, design, visual interpretation of infrastructure & activity nodes
–potential location of hardstands for grey nomad caravans

–areas for site levelling

–child friendly zones

camp kitchens, covered presentation areas, BBQ’s, group areas, etc, etc

NO MARKET RESEARCH

•Only views of community & existing patrons

•No tourist demographics – visitation patterns, why visitation is low in off peak times, i.e. is it weather related, is it due to lack of facilities and services in the Park, is it due to lack of accommodation types in the Park?
•No peak/off-peak visitation numbers from other accommodation businesses in Mallacoota and region/East coast.

•No research to understand various target market groups for different times of the year & what would attract different visitors at different times of the year.

DATA AND HOW IT IS USED

•Tick-a-box answers
•“Other” – gives no idea of respondents opinion.

•Views/suggestions of one or a few people from community consultation mtg – yet it’s acknowledged ideas were “wide and varied and not the consensus of the entire community” (p 37).

•Terminology not defined – we all have different interpretations of ‘family park’, ‘eco park’, ‘family values’, ‘holiday park’, ‘safe boat ramp access’ – and so will Council .

PARK NAME

•Holiday Park – all inclusive resort-style bells ‘n’ whistles

•Camp Park – camping (tent, caravan, campervan)
–A holiday experience implying low-key, minimal infrastructure, is about nature and being in the surrounds

VISION AND POINT OF DIFFERENCE

•Report : Family Park = services, facilities, infrastructure, accommodation

•Real Point of Difference – “The setting”

•Don’t sacrifice the setting by turning it into something which it isn’t for the sake of obliging the desires of a small number of holidaying visitors.

•Location and camping experience is unique in comparison to other camp parks.

•Other types of holiday experiences can be achieved in other locations.
•Very few places left for this type of holiday experience; in the near future the Mallacoota Foreshore Camp Park will be even more distinct with other camp parks following the trend of ‘family holiday parks’.

•The setting needs to be protected/ enhanced, maintained and promoted as different to other parks, inc sustainability, mgt of natural environment.

•It provides a great opportunity for marketing.

THE SETTING

•a traditional Australian camping experience

•that can be enjoyed by everyone

•a place without significant built up infrastructure

•within a beautiful natural bush environment

•on a foreshore

•overlooking a magnificent lake

•with majestic mountain ranges in the distance

•and the sounds and views of crashing waves from the surf beach

•an environment shared with native fauna

•surrounded by National Park
•with an enormous array of nature-based pursuits at ones fingertips

and part of a small friendly low-key community township

NOT DRAGGING OUR FEET

•Leadership in sustainability, the future of environ mgt.

•Exceeding industry standards, becoming a model
•Better alignment with Foreshore Mgt Plan

•Practical examples –
–cliff edge/foreshore vegetation buffer needs protecting
–increase the width of that strip
–parts of Devlin’s Gully needs better management
–sea level rise is considered – with little recognition of severe rainfall events, subsequent inundation of low lying areas at northern end of Park, and impacts on proposed infrastructure

–installing truly sustainable facilities and having all green measures in place.

MORTIMERS PADDOCK

•Listed as bushland reserve – should only be used for “passive recreation” – walking and picnicking (Land Conservation Council (LCC) recommendations 1986).
•Foreshore Management Plan recommends permanently reserving MP = LCC.
•“Connecting” camp park to MP – clearing high value vegetation and a creek crossing – Devlins’ Gully.

•Infrastructure costs/ vegetation removal too costly for an area catering for summer peak overloads – unless Council intends MP to became a permanent part of the park.
•Any overflow would be for 2 weeks at Christmas time. Non powered sites still require amenities with power/ water

•MP does not need clearing for public/ community use – it is already used for its specific purpose as a reserve.
•Extending the Park into MP should never be considered!

ACCOMODATION

•Contradictory to community & patron survey results, Economic Benefit Assessment, Foreshore Management Plan.
•Pulled out of a hat – no analysis in economic section of report – just added as opportunity
•Would compete with other market sectors

•No market research – accommodation is why visitation numbers low in off-peak times.
“Accommodation types that promote year round visitation” (p 37) are a potential investment – contradicted – could be removed in off peak times so the open space can be for public use
•No specifics – location, size, infrastructure requirements, impact on the landscape.

•Soft-top/ safari tents/ Eco/ tented accommodation

– soft-top accommodation be considered as the ‘point of difference’ for the Foreshore Park

– high maintenance, cold and damp in off-peak months, don’t do well at other East Gippsland sites in off season.

•Fails to understand real ‘point of difference’ – will have detrimental impact on it.

•Marine-based accommodation – high maintenance and operational costs, will destroy natural landscape values and views from the foreshore – most important reasons why people visit Mallacoota and enjoy staying on the foreshore. A high use public area that should not house marine-based accommodation.

ECONOMICS

•‘housed’ accommodation would only attract more visitors in the low season if existing similar accommodation was full – otherwise its competition.
•It will take business away from private camping parks, that are further from the central part of town, and don’t have the Inlet viewing opportunities and proximity to water and berths.

•Council might gain $, but it would be to the detriment of private camping parks and budget accommodation in Mallacoota.

•There would be no net economic effect on the town, other than the employment of builders to construct cabins.

•Providing cabins would also reduce the number of camping spaces by a much greater number than the new visitation they would induce over peak periods (one cabin would probably take up four campsites).
•Cabins alone wont attract visitors in winter
•Mallacoota would get a greater return on Council money invested in ways to directly attract visitors rather than adding accommodation to a pool that is already saturated over January and is already far in excess over the low season.

•Some existing business/ services could be supported to be improved and better marketed.

MARTYN HILEY

Has put an enormous amount of work into the data analysis of the responses recorded from the town meeting at The Golf Club in regards to the Masterplan. This is the meeting that ,with the questionaire, is what the ‘Opportunities paper was based upon.

The links below will take you to his work. It is very useful and painstaking analysis and puts to shame the slipshod work of the ‘Opportunities Paper’.

These are notes that Mary Ann Crocker took at the recent meeting to discuss The Mallacoota Foreshore Holiday Park Masterplan – Final Draft Issues and Opportunities Report

MaryAnne Crocker, 19/2/12

A draft Issues and Opportunities report (PDF 3.6Mb) Ros McVean convened the meeting. She made preparations with the help of Don Ashby, Jenny Mason, James Thyer et al. The meeting was simply to let the community know what was happening, set forth a few opinions and thus open the way for people to come to their own views regarding the matter. She said that F.M.S.A., the consultants, were recommending that the Shire should make their plan after “consideration of the majority of views of the community and tourism attractiveness”. Ros “They have (so it would seem) no real plan yet – no map. Ideas in the report were just ideas without much research behind them eg. Safari tents – where would they go? How many? Etc. There seems to have been no market research besides the visitors and community surveys eg of other similar destinations. It was noted that dogs are welcome at Mallacoota Camp Park more so than at other destinations. F.M.S.A surveyed people in the peak time – (implication; may have been different answers if people were surveyed in shoulder or off-peak periods). Quite often questions in the survey ended up in many people answering with the vague “other” option – what does this other mean? It was a sizeable proportion of the answers. The term “family orientated park” is open to interpretation. Many people dislike the term “holiday park” because Ros feels it implies that the place needs to provide the entertainment for the visitors whereas our camp park is thought to be a place to camp in a near natural area which one can use as a base to explore & enjoy the surrounding environs and activities within. The term Camp Park can be taken as to include camping in tents caravans or campervans. As a result of the survey the point of difference for Mallacoota was “the setting”. There are few destinations like Mallacoota left and they will become fewer into the future. Garth: (a long term camp park visitor) said that it is too cold to live in a caravan over the off-peak season. Most caravan people would prefer to travel up north at that time of year. Re Increased visitation in the off-peak period – many people questioned the need or desire to do this. The community, Ros said, welcome the quieter time in the park, especially the top section because it becomes safer to use e.g. with young children. Ocean, Ros’ daughter, learned to ride her bike there in the off-season. Maryanne, your scribe, often takes her elderly mother there with her wheeled-walker, because she can more safely walk there on a reasonably flat surface. People were questioning why the choice of “family park” in the survey resulting in F.M.S.A pouncing on accommodation opportunities. They don’t necessarily go together. Murray Geer said “that the philosophy seems to be ‘lets make more money’ and that it will spread through all their thinking re the camp park. The main thing however is to make the park viable and self-sustaining. Dale F; It is already viable. We don’t want it like Lakes Entrance Camp Park. We don’t want any fences; we want to continue joint use of the park. Someone said that at the Golf Club Meeting they mentioned that there was $2.5 million to be spent on the place. Murray said we just need decent toilets, level some sites and provide a manager’s residence. Dale Fisher: Ours could be like Inverloch Foreshore Park – natural foreshore – we should go and have look sometime. Ros’ notes on the screen said that we should continue to provide the traditional camp experience and it should be available to everyone – not just the better off. It doesn’t need significant infrastructure. You go there to enjoy the experience – not to be entertained. We should promote what we’ve got, exceed good standards eg stick to the Foreshore Management Plan, protect the edges, install truly sustainable facilities and have all green measures in place. Leo: Set a higher standard eg re water use and recycling water than the sustainability assessment indicator in the report document. This higher standard would be another point of difference for us. Our town could be a leader just as people are coming to see and find out about our solar panels all around town. Leo: We could have a cut rate for back packers, eg a special corner for them. Garth said it is not right that people in the Wicked campers can use the showers for free at the wharf utility block during the busy time (about now) in the park to the detriment of those who pay for the use of showers in their fee. The latter end up having to wait a long time for a shower. This needs to be addressed. They have thought of a card that could be used for entry but nothing has happened. Garth said those (Wicked camper) people also use the utility block to cook in (it needs to be policed more). Neal G: The Issues and Opportunities Report is a selective report of the meeting at the Golf Club. Mortimer Paddock was mentioned by one person, safari tents were mentioned by two people. We would be offended if they could call it a draft plan. It was discussed what might be the process from here. We hope that our submissions would have an effect on the appearance of the draft plan rather than ideas mentioned by the community suddenly taken over by them to become plans. Kevin (another long-term Caravan Park patron): said why change it? They’re already making lots of money. Mortimer’s Paddock – for people to overflow there you would still need an amenities block there with power and water. It is under the auspices of the D.S.E. The Land Conservation Council recommended that it be used for passive recreation (..not to increase the financial gain of the Council) Early in the meeting Paul R said that when the Park is full it is full. How many powered sites do we need? Sometimes it is said the the Park is full and it only means that all the powered sites are taken up. It should be pointed out to enquirers that there are many unpowered sites. Don Ashby: The Shire “borrowed” the area near the football oval. Next thing they know they had taken the land and built a toilet block. People wanted the land so they could move the oval over where they could have a safe level site. An alternative plan was produced but the goal posts would not be in a safe or reasonable spot. Eileen: Matt Youell assured a meeting last year that there would be now more powered sites but it soon happened anyway. Mallacoota is short of public land. No one liked the idea the Mortimer’s Paddock could even be considered for public open space (cleared). Gail S: said that in the foreshore Management Plan 2001, the top part of park is recreation reserve and if they want to change that they would have to change the Foreshore Management Plan. Leo: wrote up on the whiteboard what eh had found out on the D.S.E. website that the foreshore at Mallacoota is divided into “Public Conservation Reserve Zone (PCRZ) which includes the Camp Park Foreshore Reserve. Then there is the Public Purpose Recreation Zone (PPRZ) at the area from the Mudbrick Pavilion and football oval right through to the top end. This area is included in the U.D.F. (Urban Design Framework). It involves protection of vegetation amongst other things but it doesn’t preclude commercial uses of this area. Mortimer’s Paddock is also in this area. There are some high conservation values in Mortimer’s Paddock eg special plants. The LCC recommends permanently reserving it, Dale thought Parks Vic managed it but Leo said that they handed it to the Shire. Re: Accommodation. The safari tent idea popped up at a meeting. It contradicts the surveys and the economic section of the report. F.M.S.A hasn’t given us the research and rationale behind it. They need to do a marketing survey to prove it is worthwhile (no one seemed to be enamoured with the idea at this or the other meeting). The eco-tents would compete with other market sectors. They haven’t found out their usage. You would take from holiday units to give to the takings of the Camp Park – no real gain for the community. They don’t do well at the other East Gippsland sites. They are not very popular in winter, so what is the point? Apparently Matt Youell manages the jetties also. What does marine-based accommodation mean? No-one was enthused at all. We could not make sense of it. Patsy: said that she had read somewhere that there was to be a level-roofed building somewhere to be put into the hillside – what building? Residence? Office? – She is trying to find out where she read this. Leo: said that if there is to be any levelling it should only be done by filling – not cutting and filling. Garth: said at one stage they were going to cut into the slope down from the bakery but they were stopped. We now realise that no-one had thought to consider the aboriginal feelings on this matter. Extra accommodation in the park wouldn’t necessarily mean a boost to the economy of the town. There is also a contradiction about the use of ecotents for the community. James Thyer: found some seasonal visitation statistics from Merimbula and Eden and compared them to camp park figures in Mallacoota and there are similar trends in the off-season. It would be better to put money into better marketing. Groups could be contacted for off-season camping. We could perhaps rent some tents to them. The community doesn’t need a marquee as we already have one we can use for community use. We could perhaps improve the catering in town to make it more attractive. More catering in peak time would mean less waiting for meals. This may be our last opportunity to comment. We hope not. Also at the Golf Club meeting 10 groups said no permanent structures in the park (out of 12 groups). Ecotents are cabins that look like tents – they need foundations and they take full-sized furniture. One ecotent would cover four campsites so they would be priced accordingly. Bus tours – they usually bring their own tents. We shouldn’t have people camping near the gas bottles and sewer pump near the wharf toilets. Leo: suggests zones in the park for grey nomads, bus groups and back packers. Dale: suggests we should have a subgroup form the community to liaise with Shire re: Camp Park. Neal: we must consider the larger vehicles movement through town ie. Mobile homes, large caravans, large boats. We could direct traffic away from Maurice Avenue. We should address the danger to pedestrians at I.G.A and near bakery. He suggests making Buckland Drive one way. This will determine location of office and residence. June: the Foreshore is classified by the National Trust. It is an essential part of Australia’s heritage and must be preserved.

FOOTNOTE FROM DON ASHBY

THIS pdf IS A CONCEPT PLAN COMMISIONED BY EG SHIRE COUNCIL IN 2001

I COMMEND IT TO YOUR ATTENSION WHEN DRAFTING YOUR SUBMISSION TO THE SHIRE COUNCIL.

SPORTS AND RECREATION CONCEPT PLAN

I have sent all the East Gippsland Shire Council this email and strongly urge you all to send them individually letter outlining your objections and cricism of the current planning process.

Dear Cr Ellis As you may know the Shire Council is conducting the formation of a Masterplan for the redevelopment of our foreshore here in Mallacoota. The planning process is causing many of the residents great concern. We feel that the consultative process is being done in a cynical ‘just tick the boxes’ manner. We are aware from sources in your administration that the plans for redevelopment have already been drawn up by Matt Yeull’s Office. The current ‘opportunities paper’ contains so many errors of fact, misrepresentations of data and sloppy methodology that it would take almost a document of similar length to enumerate them. I would like to bring to your attention material found on the front page of my website that has been compiled by various members of our community.

If you would just read the document itself –

you will immediately see the cause of our concerns.

We are deeply disturbed by the possibility that our beloved foreshore area (beloved also by the people who holiday here every year) will be turned into some sort of travesty in a mindless, misguided and almost certainly self defeating act of financial greed. Personally I am speaking from my position as The Chairman of The Mallacoota Halls and Recreational Grounds Committee of Management (a not for profit organization that manages public recreational land in Mallacoota on your behalf). Some years ago The East Gippsland Shire Council ‘borrowed’ some of our land as ‘summer overflow’. They made strict undertakings that this land would not be developed. Subsequently that land has had powered heads installed for all the sites and a toilet block has been built. That land had been set aside for further development of our recreational reserve specifically the leveling of our oval which has over a metre fall over it’s width and as a site for our proposed swimming pool. Mallacoota is very poor in open recreational land mostly because it is all taken up by the Mallacoota Holiday Park. In the past we at least had access to that land in the off season. One of the main aims it seems of this ‘Masterplan’ is to make the park busy all the the year around. Please find attached a pdf of a paper commissioned by EG Shire in 2001 which outlines the plans for the land that has been stolen from us by The Economics Department of your shire administration. yours sincerely Don Ashby

Patric aged 4