greeting RVers at Queenstown
flawed and in need of change'
Tassie Regulator and council
clash over camping ruling
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TASMANIA'S West Coast Council says it was "forced" to ban overnight
camping at Queenstown Recreation Ground.
Overnight Parking' signs now greet travellers arriving in caravans,
motorhomes and other RVs.
In a lengthy statement defending itself,
the council revealed its action was in response to the Apple Isle's
Economic Regulator ruling that it was providing free camping services in
contravention of the island's competitive neutrality principles.
"Council disagreed strongly with the ludicrous suggestion that just
because we were emptying rubbish bins and maintaining toilet facilities at
sites we were therefore providing free camping," West Coast general
manager Dirk Dowling said.
"Nonetheless, councils do not have the
luxury of ignoring such findings and are required to respond."
involvement of the Economic Regulator was as a result of a formal
complaint by the previous owner of the Queenstown Caravan Park and was not
limited to the Queenstown Recreation Ground.
The complaint also
highlighted Stitt Park in Rosebery as another free camping service being
provided by the council.
"Council argued strongly against this
suggestion by pointing out it did not own Stitt Park and was merely
working to maintain a facility in partnership with the owner (MMG) and the
Lions Club," the statement said.
"This argument did nothing to
prevent the Economic Regulator from making the adverse finding."
The council said it had held "detailed and complex" discussions with the
owners of Stitt Park resulting in the park's toilets being closed.
"The council's involvement is now limited to rubbish collection (a service
paid for by MMG)," the statement explained.
"There is no guarantee
that this arrangement will not still be in contravention of the illogical
approach taken by the Economic Regulator.
"That is, according to
the Regulator's interpretation, where an RV parks on a verge somewhere in
the West Coast that is near a bin emptied by council with public toilets
nearby, then council is still illegally providing free camping services.
"Again, council sees this as a ludicrous outcome, but not
surprising, given the limited range of actual on-ground circumstances and
real world outcomes the Economic Regulator fails to factor in.
is council's view that the application of the competitive neutrality
principles is currently flawed and in serious need of review and change."
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