Shire shuts free RV site

Headshot of Shannon Smith
Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser
Shire of Plantagenet Administration Building.
Camera IconShire of Plantagenet Administration Building. Credit: Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

The Shire of Plantagenet has closed its free overnight RV facility in Mt Barker for the rest of the year in a bid to help local businesses.

Mt Barker Caravan Park and Cabin Accommodation owner Shirley Smith addressed the council at its May 19 council meeting, requesting the closure to help her business which had been hurt by COVID-19 restrictions.

“The bills for fixed overheads like Shire rates of close to $17,000, water rates, waste levies are still applicable and must be paid,” she said.

“For the past year, we have offered a low-cost alternative for fully self-contained vehicles of $15 per night, and yet only one customer in that period has taken up this offer.

“Sunday, May 17 saw probably the first caravan come to town, and they stayed in the free RV site.

“Would they have stayed with us? Well, I can’t definitively answer that question — no one can — but at least we would have had a fighting chance.

“Right now, every dollar counts to help us ensure that our doors remain open.”

Shire chief executive Rob Stewart said Mrs Smith convinced councillors the matter should be considered as late and urgent business for that meeting.

“As Mrs Smith was seeking a temporary closure only and being aware of the impact that COVID-19 was having on economic activity, a majority of councillors believed that the short-term assistance was justified,” he said.

“The ban on intrastate hit accommodation places hard.

“Our economic development officer undertook a survey of businesses during COVID-19 and respondents indicated in some instances a 100 per cent decline in guests.”

The site will remain closed until December 31.

A sign will be erected at the RV site advising directing visitors to the caravan park.

Mr Stewart said the council would allow camping on ovals during big events, such as horse trials.

Get the latest news from in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails