Progress on the reinstatement of the Southend caravan park and bush camp was discussed with the seaside community by a high-level Wattle Range Council delegation at an open forum last week.
Mayor Des Noll, Deputy Mayor Moira Neagle, development services director Emma Clay, economic development manager Roger Babolka and chief executive Ben Gower met with around 20 members of the Southend community at the town’s community club.
Mr Gower said the purpose of the meeting was to update residents on the re-instatement of the two areas. “We had a really good two-way conversation on a range of issues that lasted for about an hour and a half,” Mr Gower said. “A range of questions were answered, and council has committed to hold a similar session around coastal erosion once the Rivoli Bay study has been presented to council.”
He said councillors had earlier been provided with an update on the re-instatement during the May council meeting. Mr Gower said councillors also considered a request for additional funding to complete the proposed reinstatement works before both sites being re-opened to the public under a private lease and licence agreement.
“Council has invested significant time and energy into both sites over many months,” he said. “Complications associated with the delayed removal of dilapidated infrastructure that was left behind by the former lessees and semi-permanent site tenants and the extended closure of the Victorian border due to the COVID pandemic have led to a number of delays in clearing the site and ordering new infrastructure.
“Demolition works are finally complete; the new demountable toilet block has been delivered; and it is now a matter of finalising its installation. “Over the next few months, we will be working through the finalisation of the boundaries for the bush camping site; the completion of the disability access ramp, decking and canopy for the new ablutions block; replacing boundary fencing; re-sealing the internal roadways; and installing some new turf.
“While all this is happening and to assist in bringing the opening of the parks closer, we are also working with the new operators to give them access to both sites so they can get their new venture up and running as soon as practical.”