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Byron Shire
April 23, 2021

Bruns parks takeover: families and locals lose

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The Brunswick Heads Chamber of Commerce neglected to mention in their lukewarm response to the ruthless actions of North Coast Holiday Parks, that this organisation has been one of its major sponsors over the last few years.

When North Coast Holiday Parks arrived in town a few years back they were very quick to splash taxpayers’ money around to show what a great bunch of guys they were and how they were such a tourist godsend for the town.

Today we now find this organisation has claimed much of the town’s best public parks, boat ramps and foreshore areas for its own private use.

Local families and tourists alike who have frequented these precious areas for generations are now to be banned from their favourite parks, riverside walking tracks, boat launch areas and swimming spots.

That is unless they pay $2,000 a week so they can access the beaches and park areas they have used all their lives for free.

North Coast Holiday Parks has claimed Brunswick Heads will benefit from all the tourist $$$ they will bring to town but nothing could be further from the truth.

The NCHP’s business plan up and down the coast is all about shifting the tourist dollar from local tourist and accommodation providers into their own pockets.

These once low-key, council-run caravan parks and camping areas that catered to the budget holiday makers (and local affordable housing) are now to be developed into mega tourist resorts with double-storey, waterside luxury apartments and swimming pools.

The top end of the accommodation market that traditionally was looked after by family run motels, apartments and holiday rental businesses, is the target of these ‘Bunnings’ style tourist operators.

Not only will they have the best and biggest array of accommodation in town, they have fenced off the town’s best foreshore parklands and river access, so if you don’t stay with them you don’t get to use the town’s best assets.

The pure size of these mega-developments means they then establish their own shops, riverside cafes and restaurants, boat hire, DVD rentals etc etc.

The fences aren’t just about keeping locals out, they are more about keeping the tourist dollar in. This is the proven European model and will send many local businesses out of business.

The Crown Lands department that once rigorously protected these environmentally sensitive areas and ensured equity of access for all to our best public spaces (land that was zoned to be kept open in perpetuity), has been handed over to a bunch of developers.

Check out nswchpt.com.au and you will see that the state government has now ‘entrusted’ our most treasured public Crown land to the ex-CEO of Lend Lease and Westfield Developments, the ex-property and leasing manager of Bunnings and McDonald’s, the ex-CEO of Mars Foods and a host of other high-flying marketing and development specialists from the private sector.

The bottom line is: North Coast Holiday Parks with the Crown Holiday Parks Trust is developing mega-tourist resorts on our land for the state government to then flog off to some of Australia’s largest companies, a very nice thank you for their generous political donations.

Local tourist and accommodation providers won’t stand a chance against these aggressive profit-driven operators with very deep pockets whose first objective will be to put local competition out of business.

North Coast Holiday Parks is socially, environmentally, morally and economically the worst thing that has ever happened to Brunswick Heads.

The Westfield, Bunnings and McDonald’s boys will now run the town and will be the death of countless numbers of local family businesses and ventures.

How the Chamber of Commerce has missed this beggars belief.

Sean O’Meara, Foreshore Protection Group


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