CLOSURES forced by COVID-19 pandemic restrictions during the past three months have slashed the projected incomes of the Yanakie Caravan Park and the Long Jetty Caravan Park at Port Welshpool to almost nothing.
While the Yanakie Caravan Park has been closed from April to June 2020, accommodation sales revenue was just $1,000, while during the same three-month period in 2019 sales totalled $76,000.
No accommodation sales at all were recorded at the Long Jetty Caravan Park from April to June 2020, while $53,000 was generated in sales during the same quarter last year.
The total accommodation sales at both caravan parks do not include permit holders.
The two caravan parks have been directly managed by the South Gippsland Shire Council since 2013, and at the end of each financial year a report on the revenue, operating cost and capital investment for each caravan park is tabled.
The shire’s three-member administration panel acting as the council voted to receive the Yanakie and Long Jetty Caravan Parks – Summary of Operations [annual] Report for the period ending June 15, 2020 at the ordinary council meeting held at Leongatha on Wednesday July 22, 2020.
This report indicated that from 1 July 2019 to June 15, 2020 the Yanakie Caravan Park recorded an overall deficit of $2,319, calculated from a revenue of $539,119 minus operating expenses of $541,438.
By comparison, in 2018/2019, Yanakie made a profit of $84,105, after a total income of $642,297 and $558,192 in expenses.
Between 1 July 2019 and June 15, 2020, the Long Jetty Caravan Park returned an operating deficit of $2,219, after receiving $309,525 income, with operating expenses of $ 311,744.
In 2018/2019, Long Jetty recorded a loss of $69,162, after a total income of $317,348 offset by $386,500 in operating expenses.
The shire spent $138,025 in 2019/2020 as the second part of a two-year project to build a replacement toilet block at Long Jetty, following on from the first capital investment of $263,236 towards the new block made in 2018/2019.
The combined operating deficit for the two caravan parks for the period from July 1, 2019 to June 15, 2020 was $4,538, while the combined operating surplus for the two caravan parks for the previous financial year was $14,943.
Both caravan parks are located on Crown land and the council was appointed as their committee of management after the expiry of 21-year lease agreements signed by commissioners during Victorian local government reform in 1993/1994.
A report in the July 22, 2020 meeting agenda stated that “by the time the leases had expired, the caravan parks were in a state of disrepair requiring capital investment to address electrical, fire and public safety compliance requirements.”
The report indicated that the council at the time called for expressions of interest for the parks to be privately managed under new leases but rejected all proposals that were received before resolving to take back the management of the facilities at the April 24, 2013 ordinary meeting.
When the caravan parks were returned to council control they “were predominantly occupied by annual site holders with limited short stay accommodation options”, the report said.
“Many private caravans and annexes were in poor condition and a range of private structures were unlawfully erected on Crown land.”The report went on to state that “since taking on the direct management of caravan parks, [the] council has continued to rejuvenate the land, renew essential infrastructure, and take steps to bring the land back into compliance with Victoria’s rules and regulations for managing caravan and camping parks on Crown Land.”