Picturesque properties seek to make camping ‘legal’

A “cool beauty” cattle ranch popular with campers is seeking to make its operation “legal” by submitting a development application to the council.

Like many farms, Parklands Camping Kenilworth hopped on the bandwagon and opened its gates to campers as another source of income.

Online platforms like Hipcamp enable landowners to advertise their properties in a similar way to Airbnb, and their popularity has been growing.

However, under Sunshine Coast Board rules, campgrounds require approval and property owners may have to spend thousands of dollars installing facilities.

The council also regulates campgrounds to ensure that they are kept in a clean and sanitary condition.

Parklands Camping Kenilworth is a working cattle farm about two kilometers from Kenilworth, adjacent to the Mary River and Pauline Creek.

The owner has submitted a development application seeking a physical change in use to allow for nature-based tourism that includes 50 campgrounds, amenities, and an office.

The farm has been receiving campers for about 18 months and has some restrooms and showers, but it is working with the council to comply with the rules.

“As such, this application has been prepared in order to obtain a physical change of use permit to legalize the use of nature-based tourism,” states a planning report supporting the development application.

Accommodation at Parklands Camping Kenilworth.

However, getting council approval doesn’t come cheap as a neighboring farmer recently experienced.

Dairy farmer Shane Bolger, of Kenilworth Camping, said he was surprised at the cost of making his farm compliant.

He recently spent about $200,000 on amenities, consultants, and fees to align with the board’s requirements.

The family turned to camping as a way to “save the farm” and found themselves in a battle with the council that has since been disbanded.

“For us it was a very expensive process, it took us some time, and we had to bring in environmental scientists and do fire studies, plumbing and specialist consultants; said Mr. Bolger.

“But you have to do it by the rules and we’ve passed the other end.”

Parklands Camping Kenilworth offers a peaceful waterside setting.

A council spokesperson said rural camping requires a development permit before work begins and must meet a planning plan.

Issues to be addressed may include the maximum number of campgrounds, minimum guest facilities, accessibility and connectivity to related services.

“Requesting approval for the use of nature-based tourism can be a complex process given the number of provisions in the planning outline against which the proposed use must be evaluated,” the spokesperson said.

“In terms of compliance with any illegal rural camping operations, the council uses an education first approach and works with land owners to obtain the necessary approvals or provide an appropriate time frame to stop the illegal use.”

The Parklands Camping development application describes the property as a “scenic open grassland” with dense vegetation along Boleyn Creek and large camping sites.

“Camp sites will be provided with access to a fully serviced suite of facilities,” the planning report notes.

The layout and design of the proposed sites will enhance and preserve the natural comfort of the rural area and provide guests with a quiet and wonderful place to stay near the Mary River and Boleyn Creek.

As such, the development is in keeping with the nature of the area and supports tourism in the local area by harnessing the natural values ​​of the site.

“Moreover, the siting of the proposed camp sites provides guests with a favorable outlook that enhances the natural, heritage and indigenous values ​​of the area.”

The owner proposes to use rainwater tanks to service the utility buildings and the sewage and effluents will be directed to the effluent collection point.

The report says that camping conforms to the traditional division of the area and must be approved.

The property already has a house and awnings attached to it.

The land is subject to flooding which may necessitate a flood ejection plan, on-site weather station including rain gauge and backup power.

It is proposed to set up an on-site automatic flood meter that includes an alarm.

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