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There are big changes coming to Fraser Coast’s hugely popular caravan parks – thanks to ‘people power’.

In late 2020 the Hervey Bay Council asked locals to take part in an online survey to provide feedback on which of a number of proposed changes should get the green light and there was an unexpectedly large response giving councillors a very clear insight into what people view as priorities.

To find out more we caught up with
Jade Wellings - Councillor Division 5, Fraser Coast

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TRANSCRIPT:

BRIAN:
Jade thanks for your time… Obviously you're smiling for a reason. Fill us in!

JADE:
Well, it looks like that my colleagues have supported me through Council, and we have agreed to make two of our caravan parks dog friendly!

KAYE:
Yaayyy way to go right? A red letter day… Now walk us through things… what prompted the change, although I have a bit of an idea.

JADE:
Well, when I put it forward, I guess I'd spent a fair bit of time traveling myself and in caravans with kids, not with dogs. We can't do both! But I did notice that there's a large demographic of people that do travel with their dogs and they're special. They're part of the family, and they won't go anywhere without taking them. And one of the disadvantages that we have or still do have until we get it changed over on the Fraser Coast is that all of our beach front caravan parks, which are all council owned. You couldn't take a dog there. And so people who need to travel with their animals and they particularly want to stay by the beach. They had to keep driving North or keep driving going South to go to find suitable places to stay.

KAYE:
And you've got the best beaches on the entire Queensland Coast right??

JADE:
They're lovely and they're safe. We don't have a huge surf. We're protected by Fraser Island, so they're perfect for families. They're perfect for the elderly, they're perfectly safe and they're beautiful.

BRIAN:
Well, we came here for what… four or five days or something just before we were heading up to Bundy. And here we are six months later!

JADE:
I know!...  I can't believe you guys are still here. That's because it's so great, isn't it?

KAYE:
It’s lovely!... So for those that haven’t heard the news just recap which of the caravan parks are changing and the likely timeline?

JADE:
Sure… so part of what they did with the feasibility study is they put out a survey, and the survey was not just for the dog friendly, but also for the re development of all of our caravan parks.

But specifically they were asking about Burrum Heads and Scarness for the re-development. But part of that survey they put in about whether or not the public felt that we should be dog friendly in any one of our four caravan parks. Of course, we've got Burrum Heads, Torquay, Scarness and Pialba  and the survey went to people that had stayed in the caravan parks in the past, but it also went out through a number of industry groups and some really good Facebook sharing… probably from you guys as well!!? 😊 So thank you.

Thanks for spreading the word, and the response was really great and the support came back to make dog friendly caravan parks.

Of course, there's a fair share of people that also didn't want that noting that we were surveying people that had previously stayed in non dog friendly caravan parks, but overwhelmingly there was support there for it, and particularly they supported it in Burrum Heads caravan park and Pialba caravan park. And that predominantly was because of where the dog off leash areas are as well, particularly in Pialba. That's a good spot for it.

BRIAN:
We haven't stayed at Burrum Heads, but we have seen it … it’s a very nice spot - It's perfect. Right on the Beach there, it’s lovely!

JADE:
Yeah and actually in the same meeting that we endorsed the dog friendly caravan parks, we also endorsed a master plan for the Burrum Heads caravan park, and for the Scarness park, which is half being half demolished and done already. And so those things are being endorsed, and those things are being worked into our budget. All four caravan parks are being upgraded and worked into the budget.

So when we go dog friendly will depend on when we open them up after their re-developments. It's not going to be instant. But when we cut the ribbon and say well, we've opened this caravan park up again, and it's fresh, and it's new, and it's ready. That's when those two will be dog friendly.

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