Action now promised on RV site
PLANS to establish an RV-friendly location on the Bruce Highway at Proserpine will be back on the table next week after long delays and much frustration among the community.
Whitsunday Mayor Andrew Willcox said planning for an RV stop at Proserpine had not stalled, but had been delayed after the strain Cyclone Debbie had placed on council for time and resources.
He said now he was keen to move forward with the process and ensure the wishes of the community were being reflected.
Once the over-arching Proserpine Master Plan was discussed at an internal workshop with councillors and officers next Wednesday, Cr Willcox said it would be made available to the public.
As for the potential location of the RV stop, Cr Willcox promised that too would be addressed, including the consideration of "one option on the Bruce Highway” and "also other options which will be addressed”.
"This council believes in taking a structured approach and will not be rushed into making a decision that its community will later regret,” he said, adding the benefits of each site would be considered and confirming there was a provision for an amount of funding for the project.
"I'm hoping that we'll come out of this, and the community consultation, and the community of Proserpine can give us some clear direction about where they'd like it,” he said.
"We're now going to take everyone's information on board and make a decision.”
Proserpine Chamber of Commerce Secretary Karen Vloedmans said the Chamber had been working towards the RV overnight driver reviver stop as one of its key initiatives for close to three years.
"In this time the ideal site on the corner of the Bruce Highway has been presented, the Caravan and Motorhome Club of Australia have shown their support and the department of Transport and Main Roads consulted for access to the site,” Ms Vloedmans said.
"Prior to Cyclone Debbie this initiative was important, but it is now absolutely crucial to capture the self-drive market that is driving straight past Proserpine's doorstep to assist in the town's economic recovery.
"Couple this with a much-needed rest point for the driving community travelling along the Bruce Highway, (a stretch of road) that is recorded as having significantly high accident and injury rates.
"The Proserpine Chamber of Commerce look forward to seeing this project delivered for Proserpine businesses, our community and the wider travelling community (and) we look forward to working with council to finally see this realised.”
Currently the nearest RV rest area to Proserpine is a 72-hour rest stop at Collinsville, on Railway Road, which permits self-sufficient vans and RVs, but not tents.
Proserpine resident Olga Dufty said she was concerned that "another year had passed” without a decision on a similar RV site for Proserpine.
"We are missing out on a great slice of the tourist market by allowing thousands of road travellers to pass us by,” she said.
Ms Dufty said travellers in RVs wanted a safe place to stop, but had no need for power, water, toilets or facilities. However, while in the area, they would then contribute to the local economy by buying fuel, trips and souvenirs.
"You just have to look north to Home Hill and Babinda to see what a difference welcoming road travellers and allowing them to park for free has done for those towns,” she said.
"Home Hill was dying a few years ago, as was Babinda. Now they are thriving little towns.”
Whitsunday Council Deputy Mayor and councillor for Proserpine, John Collins, was approached for comment.