THE State Government wants Sunshine Coast Council to consider amending its foreshore plan for Mooloolaba to include retention of a caravan park.
THE State Government wants Sunshine Coast Council to consider amending its foreshore plan for Mooloolaba to include retention of a caravan park. John McCutcheon

Govt urges rethink on Mooloolaba caravan park closure

THE State Government has urged the Sunshine Coast Council to give "serious consideration" to amending its Mooloolaba foreshore master plan to include a caravan park in the final development.

The request from Natural Resources Minister Anthony Lynham has come as the council moved quickly to level the iconic beach front park after its lease expired on June 30.

The council intends to use the site for car parking during construction of a new Brisbane Road car park and then incorporate the space in some form as part of the its Mooloolaba foreshore master plan.

The State Government has revealed its decision to allow the council to use state land which previously accommodated the Mooloolaba Caravan Park as a temporary car park until July, 2019, had been based on the high level of community support for the Place Making Mooloolaba Master Plan.

"In approving the land's use, Dr Lynham requested that the council ensure that pedestrian access is created between the temporary car park and the beach and that suitable green space is included in the area for the enjoyment of the community," the spokesperson said.

"The Government recognises that the site of the Mooloolaba Esplanade Caravan Park is of high value to the community for recreational purposes, and has served as a much-loved holiday destination for Queenslanders for many years.

"The Government also recognises the concerns expressed by some of the caravan park holiday makers at losing this site.

"As such Dr Lynham has asked that council give serious consideration to amending the master plan to include a caravan park in the final development of the Mooloolaba foreshore."

The spokesperson said the Sunshine Coast Council previously advised the Department of Natural Resources and Mines that it did not intend to renew its lease over the land for the purposes of a caravan park.

However the site's use post July 2019 remains undetermined.

The Government said it recognises the importance of the land for recreational purposes, and that would be an important consideration in determining its future allocation and use.

"The Sunshine Coast Council has offset the loss of 34 van parks with 44 recently created van sites at the Mudjimba Holiday Park which is situated on State reserve land," the spokesperson said.

"The new sites are fully serviced and while not directly on the foreshore, are located across the road from the beach."

Mooloolaba Esplanade Caravan Park is not specifically listed as one of the 24 caravan parks that have been identified under the policy administered by the Department of Natural Resources and Mines covering caravan parks on state land, the spokesperson said.

However Sunshine Coast Council has made clear it considers the Minister's request nothing more than that and was not a condition to which it was expected to comply.

"That said, Minister Lynham was advised directly by the Mayor some two weeks ago that the caravan park would close and it is council's intention to return this beautiful section of the coastal area to the whole community - not have it locked up for use by a limited number of people staying in caravans," a council spokesperson said.

"Reinstating the caravan park at a future date would be inconsistent with the Mooloolaba Place Making Master Plan and the clearly expressed views of the majority of people who provided input to the Master Plan.

"In fact, during consultation more than 70% of people supported relocation of the northern caravan park sites to allow for a world class oceanfront walk to Alexandra Headland and provide parkland for all residents and visitors to enjoy.

"What is interesting about this request is that many of the people who are opposing this foreshore area - which is on public land - are not Sunshine Coast ratepayers. 

"They have neither considered the interests of our residents - the people who pay through their rates to manage and maintain public areas and who would like to enjoy this foreshore area - nor have they considered the extensive community consultation which has taken place over many years."

Businessman Barry Slattery, whose wife's mum first visited the park as a little girl establishing a family trend that has survived three generations, is part of one consortium which held talks with the government about taking a lease on the site.

He said the State Government's policy was to preserve caravan parks on its land.

"I've approached the Minister to say if it enacts that policy we are definitely interested," Mr Slattery said.

"We would tender to run it to cover costs. It's not a huge money-making exercise. We would do it at a price that would make it an attainable holiday for people who can't afford $2000 a week for a unit."

Mr Slattery dismissed the foreshore master plan as a kid's Christmas wish list saying it lacked funding and approvals.

"People who responded (favourably to the master plan) did so on the basis it looked pretty, rather than the realities," he said.

"The master plan is a 'would you like this document'."