WARBURTON Caravan Park looks set for a major transformation.
Simon Edwards and his father Ray Edwards detailed their plans to Yarra Ranges Council on 23 June in a special meeting that provided an opportunity for anyone who made a submission on the proposed sale of the park to put forward their view.
Yarra Ranges Council identified Ray Edwards and sons, Simon and Adrian, and David Pratt, as the preferred tenderers back in March.
Simon Edwards told council he and his business partner Mr Pratt were in the process of selling the Bright Caravan Park they were presently operating with the intention of operating the Warburton Caravan Park.
“We are very much hands-on operators,” he said.
Both have young families and Simon Edwards said one of the significant drivers was their desire to move closer to their families in Melbourne.
Ray Edwards has been a caravan park operator for more than 20 years, and currently owns the Big4 park at Inverloch.
He said there was a significant amount of infrastructure work that needed to be done to bring the park up to the level expected by families who were the main focus of their businesses.
Included in their plans is a redevelopment of the reception and office area, boom gates to control traffic and improve safety, a jumping pillow, games room and communal kitchen, a dump site for caravaners and more two and three bedroom cabins further down the track.
Providing modern shower and toilet facilities was a high priority according to Ray Edwards who has owned and run parks for more than 20 years.
On the issue of continuing community access to the park, Simon Edwards said, “We do want to control vehicle access, but would have no plans to restrict any sort of pedestrian access”.
On the issue of existing residents and their tenure, he said they were governed by the Residential Tenancies Act and council had requested a minimum of two years surety for residents.
“We have no plans to get rid of permanent residents or site holders,” he said.
Ray Edwards said they respectively run our own individual businesses and would be pulling together for the capital spend that Warburton requires.
“What we have committed to is to pour a lot of money into not only the caravan park, but into the district,“ he said.
“We would be increasing staff over time.“
Simon Edwards said a long-term combination of lifestyle and investment in the community was what he and David Pratt were very excited about.
“We think we are in a fantastic position, ideally situated as catchment for tourists within two hours of a major metropolitan area.”
Warburton Valley CEDA (Community, Economic Development Association) president, Peta Godenzi, told the Mail she trusted that the reassurances over residents and annual site holders would be honoured.
“Our main criteria was that they weren’t compromised by the sale,” she said.
“A lot of money will need to be spent, and we trust they are going to do very good job if the tender is successful.”
The matter will go back to council on 14 July.
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