Central Highlands showgrounds close gates to campers, Queensland

On our Outback Queensland adventure in the last few weeks we were checking on sites and updating images. Whilst visiting Springsure, we checked in to council to find out this temporary change:

The Central Highlands Regional Council is discontinuing overflow camping services at showgrounds across the region, as it explores options to legitimise their use for passing caravans, campervans and RVs.
The decision stems from a Planning and Environment Court ruling in November 2018.

The ruling found the Rockhampton Regional Council’s use of a city park to accommodate overnight visitors was unlawful under the Planning Act 2016 (Qld), because it was not ancillary to the primary use of the park.

‘Unfortunately, this court ruling has had flow on effects to all Queensland councils,’ General Manager Communities John McDougall said. ‘After carefully analysing overflow camping services offered at council’s showgrounds, we have found that while it is different to Rockhampton’s situation it also does not comply with the Act.

‘As a result, this use won’t be permitted at the grounds from now until we can find a lawful solution under the legislation and our planning scheme.’

The overflow camping sites have only operated if all commercial caravan parks were full. The sites were also limited to a set maximum number of vans when activated.

‘We will be working in partnership with our commercial operators to look at how we can re-introduce this service to our valued tourists, particularly the grey nomads who bring an important and measurable economic benefit to our communities,’ Mr McDougall said.

‘This will form part of a wider review of council camping provisions across the Central Highlands, to better define the role council plays in facilitating tourism in our region.’

Affected facilities include:

• Emerald Showgrounds
• Springsure Showgrounds (pictured)
• Blackwater Showgrounds
• Capella Showgrounds (part of the Bridgeman Park Sporting Complex)



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