Future bleak for dam park
THE future of tourism in the Atkinson Dam area is in doubt, with a legal battle between Atkinson Dam Waterfront Caravan Park and Somerset Regional Council.
SRC has alleged non-compliance by Atkinson Dam Waterfront Caravan Park and is pursuing action under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009.
SRC chief executive officer Robert Bain said an action plan was issued to the owners detailing improvements to be made to the site, including lodging appropriate development applications with council.
Park owners James Lapham and Samantha Savage claim to have spent close to $300,000 in improvements to the park.
The park is approved for 42 caravan sites and eight camp sites but council claimed the park regularly accommodates more on the adjoining esplanade that is leased from SEQWater.
Correspondence from SRC to the park owners stated: "While Council records also indicated that in the past SEQWater may not have had any strong objection to the esplanade being used for camping purposes, it needs to be noted that the esplanade was not part of the land the subject of the original development approval, and therefore should not be used for camping purposes without Council's specific approval".
Mr Lapham, who has owned the park for nine months, said he couldn't let the council stop him from allowing campers in.
"There has been camping here for 30 years, so why is this only an issue now?" he said.
SRC confirmed multiple meetings with the owners, informing them the existing approval did not allow for the numbers they permitted on the site.
"As legal proceedings have been instigated council does not wish to make further comment at this time," the council said.