OPEN LETTER TO THE BUSINESSES AND RESIDENTS OF NYNGAN
Referring to council’s decision to withdraw from RV Friendly Scheme by closing free short-stays.
Three of us travel in a HiAce Campervan with an ensuite trailer. Together they form a self-contained unit. We have solar, and fresh, grey and blackwater tanks and rubbish storage on board which we empty at approved facilities. When we move on we leave no trace of our stay, apart from the dollars we leave in town at the local businesses. In the last couple of years we have spent about six months on the road. We personally choose to stay in caravan parks a lot of the time.
Most of the self-contained travellers we know stay in caravan parks at least some of the time. Some travellers refuse to do so.
Some object to paying the rental cost of a luxury flat for a tiny plot of grass (in our case about $280 per week average for three of us) and jumping castles, mini-golf, swimming pools and other facilities they may never use.
Some object to dodging bicycles and skateboards whistling silently up behind them at 30kmh and frisbees and footballs landing in their lunch.
Some have big-rigs as their home which just cannot fit into some tiny caravan park sites. Others have pets which some parks will not accept. Often caravan parks are just booked solid.
The majority of motorhomers deplore the theft of power and water in a facility they have not paid for - if it happened. But as motorhomers -most of us retired seniors - as a group, we have been blamed for overflowing rubbish bins, soiled babies nappies, broken beer bottles, defecating on nature strips, vandalising facilities and a variety of other evils. We find these unsubstantiated allegations difficult to defend ourselves against, but try a simple search of logic. Does that behaviour seem consistent with your parents or any retiree traveller you know?
Let me answer specific objections which have been raised against RV short-term free-stays by the mayor and caravan park owners.
1. Freedom campers make most of their purchases out of town and have no intention of using shops. Ridiculous.
Motorhomes are not large enough to carry a lot of supplies. They must replenish food, drinks, fuel and everything else regularly. Even if they don’t use the caravan park they will spend a lot of money in town (perhaps even more if they save on camp fees). At every stop we buy fuel, groceries, meat, sometimes takeaways, sometimes souvenirs and tourist attractions, sometimes chemist, tourist, restaurant, clubs, pubs, hardware. Even our clothes and shoes wear out on the road. RV Friendly status is more likely to attract tourist dollars.
2. Why should non-ratepayers be supported by ratepayers. They aren’t.
Travellers are well-known by every government and enterprise for their dollar contribution to the local economy, not just to caravan parks. That’s why they spend millions trying to attract tourists. Why would they do this if tourists had to be ‘supported’? But more tourists means providing the required facilities. Caravan parks should work with other businesses in town to grow the total tourist dollar, rather than just trying to grab a bigger slice for themselves. Some travellers do choose caravan parks, so more tourists will mean more customers for everybody including caravan parks. More customers means more employment, more dollars and more life in your community. RV Friendly status will increase tourists, dollars, and jobs in your community.
3. Pensioners supporting self-funded retirees. Tricky garbage.
I’m a pensioner and pensioners often find it a real struggle finding $280 a week for camping fees. Invariably this cost reduces the money we have to spend with other businesses. But travel keeps pensioners active, alert, and connected with others and keeps us off the nursing home list. Self-funded retirees are often more able to afford expensive park fees. But read 2 above.... You are not supporting us. Our dollars are flowing into your community even if we refuse to use caravan parks. If you still feel resentful, get even by coming to spend your dollars in our town. I assure you that as a ratepayer in another State we will welcome your cash.
What you are seeing I believe, is an effective lobby by the caravan parks to gain a bigger slice of the tourist dollar for themselves at the expense of other businesses - just as many did with their cabins edging out motels.
Right now Nyngan is being discussed on RV Fora, and related social media. By accepting the caravan park argument council has robbed every business in your town of my dollars, including your caravan parks, because I will bypass Nyngan. I expect many others will do the same.
Why you ask?
Because I refuse to let the caravan parks own me and my dollars. I am not their milking cow and I refuse to be treated as their rightful customer. Just like any other business in town, if they want me as a customer, the caravan parks will have to win me by meeting my expectations at a price I can afford. Will I ever be coerced by council into eating at your restaurant, drinking at your pub, spending in your shops? Of course not.
That would deny my freedoms. Why should caravan parks be treated any differently.