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An aerial view of how RV camping will be accommodated at Small Park, Ulmarra; a new concrete path will be constructed to connect the area to the village’s CBD. Image: Clarence Valley Council

After the bypass; a place to pause

Geoff Helisma|

Clarence Valley Council (CVC) will prepare a site specific plan of management (POM) and a camping management strategy (CMS) to facilitate the provision of a primitive camping ground at Small Park, Ulmarra, to accommodate recreational vehicles (RV).

Councillors unanimously approved the development application at the August CVC meeting; however, its implementation is deferred until the adoption of the POM and CMS.

With the impending bypassing of the village – upon completion of the new highway – CVC developed the Ulmarra Riverside and Village Precinct Plan (URVP), which was adopted at the July CVC meeting, “to create economic and social opportunities for the community”.

The public made seven submissions to the proposal; one objecting and six in favour.

The objector raised concerns about alleged “anti-social behaviour and theft” by “people that currently use the site for camping”.

Council staff said in the report to council that camping at the park is not approved by CVC.

“As circumstantial evidence for the Maclean Showground RV campground suggests, the use of the site for authorised, managed camping may significantly reduce vandalism and general damage to council property due to the presence of overnight campers,” the report to council stated.

This alleged problem will “likely … be managed by an Ulmarra community group or person, with regularity, which is likely to reduce any vandalism and antisocial behaviour on the site”.

These alleged problems will be addressed in the CMS, as will the management of “noise, safety, rubbish-management, etc”.

An objection to “keeping of animals (particularly dogs) by RV campers” on the basis that “locals are concerned about entering the park for fear of being attacked by dogs” will also be addressed in the CMS.

Recreational vehicle campers are permitted to have pets under the Companion Animals Act 1998.

“A condition that all animals are kept on a leash at all times will be included in the strategy,” the report to council stated.

Six submissions supported the proposal “on the grounds that the development will provide both economic and social benefits to the village of Ulmarra through the promotion of the town as an RV friendly area”.

Ulmarra Village Inc’s president, Steve Pickering, wrote (as an individual) in his submission: “As a resident and a business owner, we are often asked where it is possible to set up a caravan for a couple of days; it looks like we will finally have a location to direct them to.”

A Maclean businesswoman, Denise Worrill, mentioned the success of RV camping at Maclean showground in her submission.

“That has been a great benefit to the CBD of Maclean,” she wrote.

“If this happens at the Ulmarra showground, an asset which is currently sitting there very underutilised, would become an asset that is very useful as a money making feature, rather than an obstacle.”