obstacle known to man'
of blocking development plan
Story and Photos: Dennis Amor
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owners of a caravan park adjoining the newly-opened
multi-million dollar Mon Repos Turtle Centre near Bundaberg in Queensland
have accused the State Government of blocking
their development plans.
Turtle Sands Camping and Holiday Park has
a development application to improve and extend the park with resort-style features.
The upgraded park
would include caravan sites, glamping facilities, resort-style pool,
playground, larger cabins and dormitory-style accommodation.
But David and Jenny Baker, who have owned the
facility for more than 20 years, say they are
being forced to "jump through hoops" to have their plans approved.
"We have gone to great lengths to address the turtles and to be sensitive
to the lighting situation," Mr Baker told media.
"Yet the State Government has, for whatever reason, put up every obstacle
known to man to delay us in proceeding and to make it more and more
Ironically, the couple voluntarily closed their tourist
park to general visitors in 2010 after becoming
concerned that bright lights from caravans and tents were discouraging
some endangered turtles from nesting on the beach just metres away.
It now caters primarily for group-style bookings including families and
friends, school parties and caravan clubs.
Mr Baker told Caravanning News shortly
before closing it to general tourists that it was not practical to operate
for only a few months of the year.
Loggerhead turtle returns to ocean after laying
"It was not a
decision we took lightly ... because of the turtles this is the most
sensitive parcel of land in Queensland," he said.
"As a family we are very conscious of its environmental importance ...
that is why we bought it all those years ago.
"Our children were reared on this site and we are very protective of it.
We do not want to contribute to anything that would damage this fragile
The Bakers admit they want to take advantage of the newly improved Mon
Repos Turtle Centre by providing an environmentally-based, resort-style
accommodation experience next door.
More than $22 million has been invested in the
new turtle centre, including more than $17 million from the State
Located on a 1.5km bay just
east of the Bundaberg city, it is regarded as the world's most
important loggerhead turtle nesting site. It also sees
a few flatback and green turtles during the season.
Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service has employed five new rangers to
work in the centre during the peak nesting season which began on October
16 with the arrival of a 70-year-old female flatback.
"The Bundaberg community will continue to benefit as the centre will
inject millions of tourism dollars to the local economy, while promoting
the importance of turtle conservation," Queensland Deputy Premier and
Treasurer Jackie Trad said.
Around 30,000 visitors are expected to visit the new centre this season.
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