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Resounding Thumbs Up for 'Win Win Win' Park Plan

By Billie Harrison

Media Monitors - Incisive Insight

Port Lincoln Times
Thursday 21/7/2005
Page: 1
Section: General News
Region: Port Lincoln SA Circulation: 6,300
Type: Regional
Size: 1,724.43 sq.cms.
Published: -T-T---

Brief: SARDI (A)

Eyria Investments consultant David Nightingale and Port Lincoln City Council chief executive officer Geoff Dodd look at plans for the multimillion dollar redevelopment of Kirton Point Caravan Park
REDEVELOPMENT PLANS: Eyria Investments consultant David Nightingale and Port Lincoln City Council chief executive officer Geoff Dodd look at plans for the multimillion dollar redevelopment of Kirton Point Caravan Park.

TUNA magnate Sam Sarin's Eyria Investments has promised more than $3.2 million will be spent to develop the Kirton Point Caravan Park over the next 15 years.
As part of the agreement with the Council, Flinders University and the South Australian Research and Development Institute, a 9850 square metre portion of caravan park land will be released to house the expansion of the Lincoln Marine Science Centre.

Eyria Investments will also purchase the park's existing assets for $1.47 million.

However the Port Lincoln City Council will retain care and control of the crown land.

The council chief executive officer Geoff Dodd said the agreement would benefit all parties.

"The council wins, the public wins, the caravan park owner is better off and the Lincoln Marine Science Centre gets that extra land - it's a pretty good deal all around."

Mr Dodd said transferring caravan park assets and responsibility for major asset replacement to the park lessee would save the council money.

He said maintaining infrastructure at the caravan park over the next 15 years was likely to have cost the council $2 million.

"Instead of being $1.8 million up (including $330,000 from Flinders University for the transfer of land) we could have been $2 million down," Mr Dodd said.

"You're looking at, at least, a capital investment by Eyria Investments of $4.5million over 15 years," Mr Dodd said.

"The development is on top of the purchase of existing assets for $1.47 million."

Eyria Investments consultant David Nightingale said the project would include upgrading and redeveloping the park.

"There's no one else that would put that sort of money in a caravan park in Port Lincoln," Mr Nightingale said.

"It is our objective to offer a full range of accommodation and prices from budget family accommodation - which is the most important component of a caravan park - to top of the range holiday experiences.

"I believe it is great for the city of Port Lincoln that Mr Sarin has agreed to release a substantial portion of his leasehold land to allow the marine science centre to expand as well as agreeing to undertake the caravan park's redevelopment.

"The land will always remain crown land under the care and control of council and will always be a park."

Mr Dodd said after public consultation there would be opportunity to change or modify the agreement.

He said the council would make its decision about the rededication of land and the caravan park lease agreement based on public response during the consultation period.

The council would then report to the Minister for Environment and Conservation John Hill with its decision and responses from the public, to sign off on the rededication.

Mr Dodd said a lease document was currently being drawn up and he hoped to have a draft to present to the council by the end of the month.

The $1.47 million sale of assets to Eyria Investments is a decision of the council that does not need public consultation to progress with, Mr Dodd said.

This table includes some of the major proposals included in the Kirton Point Caravan Park Development Plan.

Costings are only estimates, as listed in the 15-year development plan for the park.

Short term - one month to three years

-relocate existing shed, carport $9000

-relocate five caravan sites $45,000

-create 45 tent sites $120,000

-eight new cabins $290,000

-seal all gravel roads $80,000

-new, upgraded BBQ facilities $12,000

Medium term - four to ten years

-luxury villas $1,450,000

-fish cleaning facility $8000

-observation deck $6000

-television booster $4000

Long Term - ten to 15 years

-swimming pool up to $750,000

-level and widen powered sites up to $300,000

-ten to 12 ensuite caravan sites $240,000

-games room $40,000

-tennis court $60,000

Bush protected

UNCLEARED bushland on the southern boundary of the Kirton Point Caravan Park will not be touched in the proposed redevelopment of the park.

Port Lincoln City Council chief executive officer Geoff Dodd said the scrubland was currently zoned residential but the council would request the land be dedicated coastal reserve by the Minister.

Friends of Parnkalla Walking Trail president Margaret Tilsner said she was "relieved" to see the caravan park development plans did not include the bushland.

She said she feared if the science centre expanded onto caravan park land, the caravan park would take over the bushland to replace lost tent and cabin sites.

However the 45 tent sites lost to the science centre will be immediately re-established on land currently occupied by camp cabins that are expected to be removed by the council.

Five permanent caravan sites also on the land to be released will be relocated immediately to the southern end of the park near current permanent sites.

"Thrilled to bits"

LOCAL Member for Flinders Liz Penfold hopes the expansion of the Lincoln Marine Science Centre will boost opportunities for the region.

Mrs Penfold said she was "thrilled to bits" that a portion of caravan park land was expected to be rededicated to allow the centre to expand.

"In my first speech in parliament I talked about having a marine centre of excellence for research and development and education so it's been a long time coming," she said.

Mrs Penfold said the expansion would help maximise the opportunities for the region and the community.

She said the centre She said it would provide a lot of opportunities for industry development and she hoped TAFE students and high school students, through TAFE, could be involved at the centre.

"And we will no longer keep losing our students to Tasmania," she said.

"Education is a huge industry and we should be a magnet for students from around the world."

Mrs Penfold said the redevelopment of the caravan park would complement the science centre.

"Port Lincoln should have an excellent caravan park and it's been far from excellent."

Mrs Penfold said she hoped the next stages would progress smoothly with no major hurdles so the construction on the science centre expansion could be underway in 12 months.

Public meeting to be held on Monday

A PUBLIC meeting will be held next Monday July 25 for people to find out about the development of Kirton Point Caravan Park and the expansion of the Lincoln Marine Science Centre.

Port Lincoln Residents and Ratepayers Association president Mary Boyle is encouraging the community to attend the meeting.

"I'm looking forward to the presentation next Monday night," Ms Boyle said.

"It's an amazing deal but we can't make any comment on it until the members have seen it.

"We need anyone with any interest in Crown land and the public's use of it to attend." Public consultation will be undertaken for the rededication of a portion of Crown land from the Kirton Point Caravan Park to the Lincoln Marine Science Centre, and the caravan park lease agreement.

City Council chief executive officer Geoff Dodd said a lease of more than five years over community land required public consultation.

The consultation period began on Tuesday and will last for 28 days.

A winner for community

THE city's councillors have overwhelmingly heaped praise on Sam Sarin for his investment in the Kirton Point Caravan Park.

All those contacted by Port Lincoln Times journalist Billie Harrison yesterday said the Lincoln Marine Science Centre and Kirton Point Caravan Park developments were win, win situations for the community.

Eric Russell

PORT Lincoln City Councillor Eric Russell believes the memorandum of agreement regarding the development of the Kirton Point Caravan Park and the Lincoln Marine Science Centre is a win for everyone involved, including the community.

Mr Russell said the expansion of the science centre had been a long time coming and the development plan for the caravan park, including a pool, games room and villas, was "very exciting".

"Really to me it's only a plus," he said.

"The caravan park was not going to be upgraded by council."

Mr Russell said people should consider whether the development would be good for Port Lincoln.

"Whether I like it as a councillor is irrelevant - this is above me," he said.

"Is it a good thing for Port Lincoln? Yes, it is - the caravan park needs upgrading desperately."

Mr Russell said he believed concerns over the height over buildings in the caravan park had been adequately addressed.

"David Nightingale's comment about having a maximum height above ground level would be a better bet than specifying one or two storey."

Mr Russell said Sam Sarin's decision to incorporate more upmarket accommodation in the form of villas would not change the park's budget accommodation market.

"There's no way he's going to jeopardise his upmarket accommodation in Lincoln Cove.

"It's just filling a niche that caravan parks are expected to provide these days."

Mick Bascombe

PORT Lincoln City Councillor Mick Bascombe said the development of the Lincoln Marine Science Centre and the Kirton Point Caravan Park was "the best possible outcome" for all parties.

"I think we've got a unique opportunity to encourage and promote a marine research facility that will be of world standard and we as a community should do everything in our power to facilitate it happening."

Mr Bascombe said the science centre already drew a lot of people into the city and the 15-year development plan for the centre was "phenomenal".

"Sam Sarin is of the same opinion and that's why he is so willing to cooperate and sacrifice some of the caravan park site to see that the expansion happens."

Mr Bascombe said the development of the caravan park was also an important part of the agreement.

"As far as the caravan park is concerned it's not up to the standard of other caravan parks around the country," he said.

Mr Bascombe said it would be beyond the financial scope of council to upgrade the park and ratepayers would not be happy to see the council committing a large budget line to park infrastructure.

He said the 21-year lease followed by a right of renewal for another 21 years helped secure the deal.

"The theory is (Mr Sarin) will be able to get that investment back over a 40 year period.

"If the lease was only for 10 years it wouldn't be commercially viable.

"If Eyria Investments don't want it at the end of the lease they will put it on the market to sell it as the caravan park.

"It will always be a caravan park and we've made sure of that."

Allan Reynolds

PORT Lincoln City Councillor Allan Reynolds believes everybody wins with the expansion of the Lincoln Marine Science Centre and the development of the Kirton Point Caravan Park.

"I believe it's good for the caravan park and it's good for the science centre, it's good for tourism and it's also good for the community," Mr Reynolds said.

"If the public has got concerns they should really attend the public consultation at 7.30pm on Monday night at the council chambers.

"I stress that to them - the main issue people want to know is will it remain crown land and it will."

Malcolm Catt

PORT Lincoln City Councillor Malcolm Catt is pleased the agreement will keep the Lincoln Marin Science Centre in Port Lincoln.

"We want to encourage the Lincoln Marine Science Centre to remain in Port Lincoln and this has allowed them to do that."

Mr Catt was also positive about the redevelopment of the caravan park.

"The proposal is good because it retains ownership of the land with the council and it removes the liability for improvement of facilities the council had and provides a long term plan for the lessee to provide upgraded facilities.

"The other important thing is that the Parnkalla Trail and land not part of the caravan park lease to the southwest is protected.

"It's really one of those very rare situations where everybody wins."

Mr Catt also recognised the input of Ian Burfitt.

"A lot of credit has to go to the former CEO (Ian Burfitt)".

Sue Macrae

PORT Lincoln City Councillor Sue Macrae believes the community is going to be the biggest winner in the agreement to develop both the Kirton Point Caravan Park and the Lincoln Marine Science Centre.

"It's brilliant for the community and I think we have a proposal for both the science centre and the caravan park that is only going to enhance our city," she said.

"Everybody has a win."

Ms Macrae said it would have been very difficult for the council to sustain the caravan park in terms of maintenance and new infrastructure under the current lease.

She said this was an opportunity for Port Lincoln to have a top-class caravan park without ratepayers funding it.

Ms Macrae said it was initially former chief executive Ian Burfitt's "brilliant idea" that allowed discussions to move forward.

Jim Papazoglov

PORT Lincoln City Councillor Jim Papazoglov said the proposal for the expansion of the Lincoln Marine Science Centre and the redevelopment of Kirton Point Caravan Park would be good for Port Lincoln.

"I think it's a good idea and a win, win for Port Lincoln."

Jill Parker

The agreement for the expansion for the Lincoln Marine Science Centre and Kirton Point Caravan Park is a "remarkable deal" according to councillor and deputy mayor Jill Parker.

"I think it's a win, win situation - to me it has everything," she said.

"We need the university, we need a top class caravan park, we need to protect the coastal land and we need to protect the Parnkalla Trail and I think this does all of that.

"There is very little if any compromise.

"The whole city will benefit from the educational and tourism potential without losing valuable land, which is important."

Mark Goold

Councillor Mark Goold was not at the meeting and wanted to hear what happened before he made comment.

Bob Richardson

The Port Lincoln Times was unable to contact Councillor Bob Richardson who was not in attendance at the meeting.

Historical occasion

PORT Lincoln mayor Peter Davis has listed the expansion of the Lincoln Marine Science Centre and development of the Kirton Point Caravan Park among the top five most important things to happen in the evolution of Port Lincoln.

"I believe this is an historical occasion for the city of Port Lincoln," Mr Davis said.

He said the expansion of the Lincoln Marine Science Centre rated with other significant events in Port Lincoln's history such as the establishment of Matthew Flinders Home, the State Government's commitment to the construction of the abattoirs, the establishment of the tuna industry and the State Government's move to make Port Lincoln the super port of South Australia.

"The Lincoln Marine Science Centre, over 15 years is a $30 million deal and Sam Sarin's project is a $4 or $5million deal."

Mr Davis said the 15-year development plan for the caravan park was an investment the council could never have delivered.

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