Binningup counts cost of closure

HAYLEY GODDARDSouth Western Times

Plans to upgrade the long established Binningup Caravan Park have been abandoned by owners PRDnationwide which closed the popular tourist facility to short-stay tourists last March.

Picture by David Bailey: Binningup resident Paul Atherton

PRDnationwide director Angus Murray said it was ‘‘too costly to keep the park running’’ and the Brisbanebased company had put the land up for sale after being asked to pay about $750,000 for sewerage upgrades.

Binningup General Store co-owner Marion Taylor said she had noticed there was fewer people in the beachside settlement this summer.

‘‘Since the caravan park has been closed it has become very obvious during the peak periods that the amount of people in town is not what it used to be,’’ Mrs Taylor said.

‘‘The big identifier for me is in our sales of newspapers, milk and bread.

‘‘I order according to sales of same period last year yet this summer we have soldway under last year’s figures.

‘‘It’s obvious the town has lost a lot of visitors.’’

Mrs Taylor said her shop assistants could get up to 10 people a day inquiring and complaining about the shortage of short-term accommodation and the closure of the park.

Harvey shire executive manager of corporate services Ron Scantlebury said he felt for the town, but the council’s hands were tied as ‘‘it was someone else’s land’’.

‘‘We would like them to have it operating but we can’t tell them what to do,’’ Mr Scantlebury said.

‘‘It’s disappointing as it takes that type of accommodation for tourists to the area out of the mix.’’

Long-time Binningup resident Paul Atherton said he would ‘‘not expect the caravan park to operate if it was not viable’’ but wished the park could have remained open for business.

‘‘The closure is a shame as it has been detrimental to the community,’’ he said.

‘‘I know people who have been coming to the caravan park for years and are disappointed in what has happened’’.

MrMurray said the park was old and did not have the appropriate services for its patrons.

‘‘We are working on upgrading the septic tanks and leach drains for the permanent residents but cannot accommodate for the irregular tourist,’’ he said.

‘‘There is just not the return.’’

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