End of an era for Sunshine Coast holiday favourite
THE GATES are locked and the land now lies empty after a Coast tourism icon officially closed for business, leaving regular customers shattered.
The lease on the Mooloolaba Esplanade Holiday Park expired on Friday, with the beachfront holiday park now standing completely empty.
Council first voted not to renew the lease in 2015 and is instead opting to convert the land into a public space.
Division 4 Councillor John Connolly said in the short term, the land would be used as a carpark throughout development of the Brisbane Road car park.
"It's important to understand we have a plan in place for Mooloolaba," Cr Connolly said.
"Community consultation was incredibly strong, over 70 per cent -we're talking thousands- of people, all wanted it gone and wanted it open to public space.
"The benefits will be massive long term...we have a pretty clear vision of where we want Mooloolaba to get to and it will be a huge benefit to the community in the long term.
"I went for a drive down there and with the park empty it was quite spectacular and the feedback has been great so far.
"We are going to make Mooloolaba into an international destination."
While councillors may be excited for the advancement and upgrades, many long-term holiday makers were devastated by the decision.
Opponents of the park's closure submitted a 3241 signature petition, applied for heritage protection and sought a new operator, all to no avail.
Michelle Dalton, from the action group, said she had been feeling confident until last week.
"The frustrating part was we felt we haven't been able to be heard appropriately and didn't have a lot of engagement," she said.
"We did our own survey and there were a lot of businesses who were very supportive of it staying open and there were only two who said they supported it being closed.
"There would be a lot of local businesses up there that would suffer.
"A lot of families can't afford to pay $2000 a week at peak times to go on a holiday so they will now have to go to other areas.
"I am all for progress and understand things have to change, but I think there should be that place for families with a different type of holiday.
"It's really sad...my daughter was devastated, she cried and cried."