Successful tenderers for the lease of Loch Sport and Woodside Beach caravan parks have been announced following a comprehensive open-market tender process.
Wellington Shire Council engaged an independent caravan park management company to coordinate the public tender process. As land manager for several caravan parks located on Crown Land, Council oversees commercial leases on behalf of the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA).
The Loch Sport Holiday Park, located on Charlies Street in Loch Sport will be operated by current leaseholders Ray and Belinda Johnson, and Woodside Beach Caravan Park, located in the heart of Woodside Beach will be operated by Deersford Pty Ltd, and managed by Steven Priest. Both parties are experienced park operators with local knowledge and enthusiasm to improve services and infrastructure for the future.
The tender for the lease, development and management of both parks was advertised locally and further afield over a six-week period. Tenderers were required to address a range of criteria including previous experience, capital investment, and consider how the business will promote sustainability, and work with the local community.
Preferred tenderers were selected following an interview process, and both operators will commence under a new agreement starting 1 July 2023 subject to finalising all necessary approvals.
Wellington Shire Council Mayor Ian Bye said, “we’ve had some legacy issues in the past, but I can assure users that this rigorous tender process has ensured that the best operators have been appointed, and Council will work with them to make sure park operations support the needs of both the community and visitors”.
“Council also continues to work proactively with the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action to prioritise investment and growth across all caravan parks located on Crown Land, and these improvements will enhance the overall visitor experience”. Cr Bye said.
When asked about the future of the Loch Sport site, operators Ray and Belinda Johnson said they have enjoyed getting to know the local community and welcoming visitors to the region. “We are really looking forward to the next chapter and working with the community and Council to deliver some incredible infrastructure improvements that will increase visitation in the region” they said.
Mr Priest is looking forward to improving services offered to the community, annual site holders and tourists. “A new lease is an opportunity to create new relationships and encourage greater visitor economy throughout the south of our shire. Woodside is a hidden gem, and I am looking forward to welcoming locals and visitors to experience the new era of our park and its operations” he said.
Users can look forward to a busy future for both sites, with significant facility and service upgrades to be completed in the next five years.
Both parks will offer a wider range of accommodation options, with plans to build a new amenities block and playground in Woodside, and a new playground, storage shed, glamping tents, and upgraded camp kitchen is on the cards in Loch Sport.