Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Fees, safety issues force McLean Beach residents’ march

Deniliquin McLean Beach Caravan Park residents' march in protest of price hikes enforced by the park's new managers.

TYLA HARRINGTON January 3, 2014 4:55am

The McLean Beach Caravan Park delegation at the council offices.

More than 40 McLean Beach Caravan Park site lessees marched on Deniliquin Council yesterday in protest at price hikes enforced by the park’s new managers.

The annual site residents also complained that Occupational Health and Safety standards are allegedly not being met at the park.

A heated argument ensued when the residents marched to the top floor of the council building to confront Deniliquin Council health and building service coordinator Greg Johnston and finance and human resource officer Jacki Cook.

One woman was reduced to tears telling her story, and eventually residents screamed for the park to be closed down entirely.

‘‘The town is dying — 20 years we’ve put into this town and we’re being forced to leave,’’ one man said during the meeting.

‘‘In the last three months I’ve put $7000 into this area.’’

One woman pleaded for council to ‘‘put pressure on the owners to be reasonable’’.

‘‘They’re thinking about the cabins (recently added to the park) making them money even if it means boxing people in... they don’t give a s**t about anyone else,’’ another woman yelled before the rest of the residents erupted in applause.

Tension has been mounting with McLean Beach Caravan Park residents since October.

Some annual residents told the Pastoral Times their bills had increased by $1000.

Resident hosts Pam and Ken Sutton, however, said the average increase is $95 per quarter.

In response to early complaints, they said the increase was necessary to fund improvements to the park – aimed at increasing visitation.

Residents said they were originally advised the price increase would be four per cent, but say it is actually more than 20.

‘‘For 35 years I’ve been helping Deni, I used to bring all my pay loading and spend it all in Deni but now I bring my own food and alcohol because of the price increase,’’ one man told the Pastoral Times.

‘‘Old friendly Deni isn’t so friendly any more.’’

The Suttons said improvements to the park will include a jumping pillow and giant chess set and new deluxe tourist cabins.

They have previously said protests from residents and regular visitors with permanent sites at the park would not stop the fee increases.

The price increase is not the only concern for park residents, who say Occupational Health and Safety concerns include limited access to sites at the rear of the park with the main road now closed off completely by a construction site for new cabins.

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