Discussion. An increase in rates at Montagu Park Recreation Reserve has caused controversy for Circular Head Council.
A public meeting was held in Smithton on Monday to address concerms from community members.
Locals and regular visitors to the region filled the council chamber for the impromptu meeting.
The council currently leases the site for a peppercorn rent on a 99 year agreement however in the 2017-18 financial year a deficit of $47,099 was recorded due to maintenance, vandalism and other costs.
At the meeting, general manager Scott Riley said the park gains the majority of its profits from short stays, averaging $15 per night while longterm stays fetch between $3.30 and $5 a night. Reduced fees are in place outside of the peak season.
The council proposed an increase in costs during the peak, from November 1 to April 30, to $20 per night, $100 for the week, $250 for a month’s stay and $600 for a three month period to address the loss.
Previously, longterm bookings of six months were accepted at a cost of $600 while the maximum stay has now been reduced to three months.
In addition, council now requires a 20 per cent deposit within 14 days of the booking for longterm sites.
Mr Riley said the changes were intended to provide short term visitors and the wider community with fair access to the area.
“There is a growing demand for natural experiences particularly in this tourism market,” he said.
In the last financial year, the park hosted 1153 visitors including 947 non-local visitors for a total of 6833 nights.
Circular Head Council’s monthly meeting is on tonight (Thursday August 16) from 6pm where councillors will consider feedback from Monday.