Justice for Campers on the Peninsula Foreshore

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WE are extremely concerned that the recent increase and restructure of camping fees, specifically within the Rye and Sorrento sections of the foreshore are extremely unfair and it’s unreasonable to not consult or communicate with the campers (either via the Camping Liaison Committee or via any other means directly with campers).

While we understand that the recent rates cap placed on LGA’s by the State Government means that the Shire has challenges to continue to raise revenue to fund critical local community services and infrastructure, We can’t understand why such an increase and restructure is fair, reasonable and is justified.

Out biggest concerns are:

This increase and more specifically the removal of packages available to campers who choose to stay for either the whole camping season or pre and post peak periods equates to over a 50% increase in fees. (Cost in the 2018/19 season were approximately $3800, and now the cost for next season 19/20 will be approximately $5900) for campers who stay / book for the whole 6 months.

In the past, pre & post season was offered at a packaged rate of $550 for pre & $998 for post (2018/19 amounts). The major aim of offering these packages was to ensure that council maximised capacity across the foreshore in the traditional quieter periods, thus increasing local tourism and generating an increase in economic benefit.

The weekly increase of $40 per week during the peak period isn’t out major concern, that will only add approximately $300 to the total bill for campers, which could be considered as a reasonable and justified increase. It’s specifically the removal of the packages for the “long term campers” that is unfair and unreasonable.

That Council has decided that only campers in the Rye and Sorrento sections have had these “packages removed” and that campers in Rosebud and other sections are except.

Why are only these sections expected to wear the burden of increase fee’s?

You have tried to explained to us that the “cost of maintaining the beaches has increased significantly’, but if that’s the case can you please explain how the cost of servicing the beaches at Rye and Sorrento are greater than those costs associated with Rosebud and other area’s?

Council has also communicated Council has a capital works budget for 2019/20 of $550,000 to commence reconfiguration works for the Rye foreshore camping sites, which will include power, water and fire service upgrades.

The planned capital works project is in fact going to force out many campers from the Rye East camping site, (which is not our issue). Our issue is that council is therefore asking those specific campers to help fund a proposed capital works project (via increased fees) for improvements which they will not benefit from?

How is this reasonable?

These increases will create significant challenges and unreasonable pressure on families to produce the additional $2000+ in such a short period of time.

Traditionally campers who stay the whole period, must pay the whole amount before they start camping, (end of September) and this will prevent many people from coming at all.

We aren’t naïve and know that these camping spots will quickly fill during the peak period, however the shire will be left with significantly less people outside of the peak period of 6 weeks over the Xmas and new year period. Having less people will then greatly impact on the local economic contribution that campers bring to the area.

We are also extremely disappointed that the Mornington Peninsula Shire isn’t honouring the Pre-season Return Campers Package - (all sections) which was formally adopted and advertised on your website (see link below) as part of the 2019/20 Budget (Formally adopted by Council on Tuesday 11 June 2019.