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July 2019


Safety and compliance problems

Permanent closure of park 'never intended'

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A NEW South Wales council has rejected claims that it wanted to force the closure of its caravan park.

Dungog Shire Council triggered community outrage when it abruptly pulled down the shutters at Williams River Holiday Park in Clarence Town, just north of Newcastle.

Locals questioned the council's wisdom in closing a popular caravan park, warning it could sound the death knell for the small community in the State's Hunter region.

But the council said it had no alternative, blaming the move on "safety and compliance" problems at the park..

In a report presented to an extraordinary council meeting the authority said there had been fears the park would never reopen.

"As a result, the hurt and anger felt by many within the community in regard to the closure tended to coalesce on a range of conspiracy theories," it said.

These concentrated on alleged permanent closure and the sale of land on which the holiday park stood.

The report said there were "other matters that had no basis in fact and were in truth a distraction from the real focus ... which was park reopening".

"Council at no time considered selling the land on which the park is located. Part of the site is Crown Land and cannot be sold."

The report pointed out that the council had moved quickly to identify possible short-term solutions, with a section of the caravan park reopening within a few weeks after infrastructure works.

"Council is now in a position to determine a timeline for further reopening of the site," it said.

"The challenge now is not whether the park can operate across its full footprint, it is in what form that operation should take."

Updated approval has been granted to operate 63 sites at the holiday park, which will continue to operate under the care and control of the council until an expression of interest process for the future management is carried out.


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