Vice-president of the Clarence Valley Ramblers, Syd Asher, with his RV at Corcoran Park.
Vice-president of the Clarence Valley Ramblers, Syd Asher, with his RV at Corcoran Park.

Searching for RV site in Clarence

MOVES are afoot to put the Clarence Valley on the recreational vehicle (RV) map, and several sites for a permanent low-cost site in Grafton have been suggested.

As official RV Friendly Towns pop up around the country – there are now 107 of them – Clarence Valley Council has tabled plans to develop a consistent RV policy, one that would attempt to cover the myriad of issues that come with managing the emerging trend towards motorhomes and campervans.

Vice-president of the Clarence Valley Ramblers, Graham Randall, said he had spoken to a Valley council officer yesterday who agreed to attend a presentation from the Campervan and Motohome Club of Australia (CMCA) with the aim to convince the area of the benefits of becoming an RV Friendly Town.

Grafton already has a hospital, a major shopping centre and a dump point for RVs to empty their refuse (at the greyhound track).

The main criteria holding Grafton back from the rating at the moment is a parcel of flat ground that could be provided to RV vehicles for low cost – $7-$10 per night – and some designated parking in the CBD.

The designated land, according to the CMCA, need not have any amenities or power in order to cater for the self-contained vehicle market.

Though a date for the RV presentation has not been made, Mr Randall said he hoped it would be attended by councillors, senior council officials, the chamber of commerce, the Clarence River Tourism Association and caravan park operators.

Clarence Valley Council deputy general manager Des Schroder said yesterday that previous attempts by council to provide low-cost RV facilities in the Valley had met with revolt from caravan park operators.

Despite this, he said, council had now endorsed Small Park at Ulmarra as an RV facility after a trial period last year.

He said council was still having trouble finding someone to collect the overnight stay fees.

Suggestions of using Corcoran Park, Grafton, were greeted with caution by Mr Schroder, who said the park had been locked up at night for some time now in response to extensive and ongoing vandalism.

“It’s not to say it couldn’t be trialled at Corcoran and we do recognise that we should be developing an RV friendly area,” Mr Schroder said.

Other problems that come with RV areas, Mr Schroder said, included the illegal camping of non-self-contained vehicles such as Wicked Vans.

They were a problem in Yamba and a huge problem in Byron Bay.

Mr Schroder suggested Hawthorn Park at South Grafton as a potentially good location for an RV area.

“There were 1500 horse people that were camping onsite there for a week and a half last year,” he said.

CMCA manager of projects and member benefits Phil Berry refuted claims that a cheap RV area would hurt caravan park operators.

“We’ve got surveys that show that they increase their occupancy rates ... RV Friendly Towns attract those that can stay anywhere because they are self-contained but also those that can’t stay anywhere, the ones that need a caravan park,” Mr Berry said.

“Even the ones that are self- contained will stay in a caravan park once every 3.5 nights or twice a week.”

Mr Berry said he was in negotiations to establish Coffs Harbour, Kempsey and Casino as RV-friendly towns.

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