Call for more time at Welshmans Reef: Photos

THE voices of 2800 people fighting to save Welshmans Reef Caravan Park will be heard in Victorian parliament next week.

Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards will table a signed petition on Wednesday and has called for a moratorium on the caravan park's final closure date.

Goulburn Murray Water announced in July it would not extend its lease at the park beyond November 9, giving 67 siteholders until the end of December to vacate.

Ms Edwards said if GMW, Mt Alexander Shire Council, the Save Welshmans Reef Caravan Park committee and other stake holders got together, they could solve the problem.

"We haven't put a date on the proposed moratorium as yet, but first and foremost we want to give groups more time to look into different avenues," she said.

"We need to see a specific list of the works required at the park.

"I'm calling on the water minister to make this a priority."

GMW cited a $2.6 million maintenance bill as the reason for the imminent closure, with the sewerage system being the greatest contributor to the figure.

In July, Mt Alexander Shire mayor Michael Redden told the Bendigo Advertiser GMW had been sitting on the maintenance bill for three years.

The council rejected an application to extend the lease by six months as the park no longer complied with sewerage and fire mitigation standards.

Victorian shadow water minister Martin Foley visited the park on Friday and described GMW's handling of the issue as "cynical".

"The fact that upgrades are needed is not a shock," he said.

"You would presume that over time, GMW would have made the required changes."

Mr Foley said the water authority had put effort into maintaining facilities at Lake Eildon and Lake Eppalock, but had allowed Welshmans Reef Caravan Park to deteriorate.

The Save Welshmans Reef Caravan Park committee compiled the petition with 2800 signatures through campaigning in the nearby areas of Newstead, Maldon and Castlemaine, while siteholders further afield also pledged their support.

The committee will apply to Consumer Affairs to take over the lease of the caravan park.

Mr Foley said it showed how passionate the caravan park community was in fighting the closure.

"The community getting organised, they're trying to find a solution," he said.

"You don't get a solution by bush-whacking people, which is how GMW has treated the people here."


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