Opinion

Intrigue with caravan park

by
April 17, 2018

Greater Shepparton councillors will tonight decide whether or not to move forward and buy Victoria Lake Caravan Park.

This is a promising development, especially in the long-term interests of the lake precinct.

The site has long been a difficult prospect for the council and there are a few factors at play.

Firstly, is the site’s condition, which has needed funding in recent years to bring it up to scratch.

Secondly, there is the 21-year lease cap, which appears to be preventing council from securing a longer-term tenant.

And finally, there is the bigger elephant in the room — the fact a state-of-the-art Shepparton Art Museum is moving in next door.

With this in mind, plans have earmarked four-star accommodation as an ideal match for the future of the area.

Plenty of people are fond of the park being where it is and it has been a valuable asset in the past.

The reality is the site is not in a condition to fit with the future uses of the precinct.

Four-star accommodation is more in line with the $40million SAM soon to be next door.

While caravan parks provide significant value to the Greater Shepparton area and plenty of visitors to the city find them a good fit for the sort of holiday they are after, for the future of this site, one imagines a caravan park might not be the ideal fit.

It might be determined more well-suited accommodation is needed.

At the least, moves to secure control of the site will hopefully take away the frustration council has been feeling to develop the park.

Having control of the land will allow the council to better dictate exactly what goes there.

There are still a few questions though, as it is unclear exactly what the current day value of the land is.

One hopes council can snap the property up at a reasonable price and they appear confident the land being put to public use might afford them a better deal.

One might also imagine that, even in the difficult financial climate councils are experiencing, buying land, especially if at a reasonable price, makes long-term financial sense.

If SAM is complete by the time the park’s future development conversation rolls around, one imagines it would make the proposition more commercially viable.

What also remains to be seen is the level of appetite for the sort of investment from the private sector council has in mind.

Let’s hope there is plenty of interest down the track.

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