The former Byron Council staffer and now manager of the state government-owned private enterprise, North Coast Holiday Parks (NCHP), has hit back at claims his parks do not contribute back to the community since he took over administration from Byron Shire Council in 2006.
But questions still remain as to why Council’s financial returns are extraordinarly lower than before the takeover.
NCHP general manager Jim Bolger told The Echo that a major amount is paid directly back into the Shire via Council.
‘Other amounts paid for reserve maintenance and or improvement by NCHP vary from year to year determined by the work needed to be performed. Plans for the upgrades of the day use reserves in Brunswick Heads will be exhibited toward the end of this year. These plans will identify extensive improvement works to be funded from caravan park revenue.’
The questions come after a recent press release by a public relations company on behalf of NCHP that claimed, ‘guests can be confident that the profits from the dollars they invest are returned to the people of NSW and their coastal recreation zones.’
Council’s media officer confirmed that in 2011/12 the amount paid by NCHP for three Brunswick Heads caravan parks was $196,818, and is listed under the ‘Open Space And Recreation Program’ in the budget.
As a comparison to when Council managed the parks over ten years ago, Council’s 2001/2002 annual report says that The Terrace Park generated $380,000, Massey Greene $270,000 and the Ferry Reserve $121,200, equalling a profit of $771,200. Another snapshot a few years later in 2003/2004 reveal a higher figure of $860,653.
Council’s community infrastructure executive manager, Phil Holloway, said the income was spent across all Council reserves as per a 2007 agreement with the then-called North Coast Crown Lands Division. ‘Council also receives income for Crown reserve works from the paid parking on Main Beach, Byron Bay, and fees from market licences.’ He says the funds can only be expended on works in the area to which the income was generated.