Update 31January 2015: The Saga Continues……
The PSC spin department went into overdrive with an enthusiastic Press Release declaring that “The highly-anticipated Port Stephens Treescape has opened its doors and welcomed its first guests to onsite accommodation at Gan Gan Road, One Mile Beach on Thursday 22 January, in time for Australia Day 2015.”
- We heard that although it was sold out for the long weekend, somebody forgot to organise the cleaning staff, so they were knocking back bookings subsequently because the units had not been cleaned!
- Checking the accommodation available on the New Website HERE it appears that the proposed unpowered campsites are not available yet, which begs the question, what is new about this holiday park, apart from the website and the sign out the front?
- If Council was going to go to the expense of reopening the thing in the same configuration as the old Samurai Holiday resort, why did they bother to shut it in 2013?
- How did they organise this so that they missed the Christmas holiday bonanza? This would have been the only opportunity to offset the considerable cost of cleaning the place up and getting it operating again.
- If they go ahead and flog off the Demountable cabins that they booked out on the Australia Day weekend, will the unpowered campsites generate more income, all year round? With no power and no campfires allowed, the recent sharp change in the February weather would have been pretty uncomfortable, let alone the cool months.
- We hear that the only other decent income earner in the resorts previous life, the wedding marquee, had to be put in storage because after it was dismantled it was discovered that the new location was too close to a power line.
TRRA Inc. will continue to monitor this situation for our ratepayer members. We have prepared a formal GIPPA freedom of information request for all financial information on Councils operation of this Holiday Park. When we get this information we will analyse it forensically and expose the true cost of this debacle to the community.
Correspondence to Council:
Update 20 December 2014:
Affordable camping for battlers at Port Stephens…………Your correspondent has just returned from a 3 week Motor Home holiday on both Islands of New Zealand with 4 adults and a child, overnighting close to popular tourist places like Rotorua and Queenstown. Costs averaged out at NZ$80.00 (A$72.00, A$18.00 Per Head) per night for a powered site in a Holiday Park. Most had excellent facilities with fully equipped kitchens, TV rooms, baby changing rooms etc. and booking was required because they were nearly all full. A quick search of Hawks Nest and Jimmy’s Beach, right in town, right on the beach was about the same for weekend 20-21 December. One Mile Beach and Middle Rock (right next door) were $75.00, ($18.75 per head) High season fees proposed for TreEscape shown below would be $102.00 per night ($25.50 per head) + a possible extra child fee of $10.00.
As the Examiner article below points out the geniuses behind this marketing disaster have missed all their self imposed deadlines again and have lost the only possibility of making any money this summer high season by not getting it up and running as promised. Even when they do we believe they will struggle with the existing competition.
How will the long suffering Ratepayers of Port Stephens Ever Escape The TreeEscape?
Examiner 17 December 2014: TreEscape Will Miss Christmas Deadline
PSC Minutes 25 November 2014: Holiday Park Fees And Charges
Seek.com.au 16 December 2014: TreEscape Day Manager
To make matters worse, Council have now appointed new auditors and removed all details of the income and expenditure of their Business Units from the 2014 Annual Accounts. In 2013 the Holiday Parks alone reported a loss of $850,000.00. Council stated that in their opinion “this level of disclosure served little purpose and resolved to discontinue it.” This is taking “Trust me!” to a whole new level. Separate story to follow soon.
Newcastle Herald 30 October 2014: Port Stephens Council Pitches Camping Plan Tor Samurai Beach Resort
Examiner 07 Novbember: Old Samurai Resort To become New TreEscape Park
Examiner 07 November 2014: TRRA Jumps On TreEscape Park