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Williams River Holiday Park now closed

Hunter tourism has been struck a rather savage blow with the Williams River Holiday Park now closed by Dungog Shire Council on “safety and compliance” issues.

For those who knew the park, located just north of Newcastle in the Hunter Valley, it was a common stopover for campers and caravanners alike, situated on the idyllic banks of the Williams River. It was the resupply point for a lot of folks heading up into the Upper Allyn and Barrington Tops, bringing tourist money into the community.

Residents and businesses of Clarence Town learned of the closure in a letter from the council’s general manager Coralie Nichols, that the council-owned holiday park would cease operations effective immediately.

“Regrettably, the review identified deficiencies in relation to safety and compliance that brought into question the ability of the park to continue operating in its current form,” she said in the letter delivered on Friday, March 1. ​”As a result of this situation Council has determined to close the Park while its future is considered.”

It further went on to say that all camping was to cease immediately, and the owners of onsite vans would be required to remove them as soon as was practicable.

Clarence Town and District Progress Association Treasurer Dannielle Jeffery said the community had been “totally blindsided” by the closure. “We are very disappointed at the lack of community consultation to say the least,” she said, adding the association was seeking more information from council. “Coming up to Easter and Anzac Day our caravan park is absolutely chockers and this town just blooms over those periods. It’s going to be a big hit on all our local businesses.”

Image: Happy Campers Australia

Council has confirmed that they will look into the options of establishing a ‘free-camp’ area for busy periods, however there has been nothing firm offered up at this stage. Interestingly, the Dungog Regional Tourism board received a grant of $93,000 for the park as part of an overall $1.3million project in the shire to help boost outdoor tourism, however nothing has been said of those funds, and where they will be redistributed.

17 Comments

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  • The first thing that must happen to that council is to sack all the developers on it. They must produce a copy of the report that listed the safety deficiencies for public scrutiny, then look out for some type of resort being developed there in the future. They say it’s council property, it’s not, it belongs to the residents of the shire.

  • Straight to the Premier to get some answers regarding the safety and compliance issues as well as the Councilor with the accomodation facilities. It smells of illegal activities……

  • Our Dungog Council continues to take take take from us and give us NOTHING in return. Now they have applied for a 98% rate rise over a few years. One of our Councillors owns an accommodation facility halfway between Clarence Town and Dungog that is preparing to have caravans. I’m absolutely positive that the problems with the Caravan Park DID NOT develop overnight, so I feel this has been timed and orchestrated very well to benefit one person. The Caravan Park closing right now must be another part of this orchestration. It doesn’t take a mastermind to figure out what is going on here.

  • Typical of local government, deliberately allow the park to run down and then surprise, surprise, the park is no longer compliant. The fact the whole area would be classed as very valuable real estate, may be an incentive.
    What are the listed deficiencies and what was the government grant allocated to?
    Stats have proven more and more Grey Nomads are buying caravans and Motorhomes and heading off to explore this great country only to find the caravan parks that haven’t succumbed to Developers with their fist full of cash, are charging fanciful prices and cramming people in like sardines. The surviving Parks then winge about Free Camps (or Freedom of Choice Parks).
    I would suggest to Dungog Council to rethink the decision for closing down and spend money on the establishment and make it compliant, also try promoting the park as a Holiday Destination in its own right, I’m sure the local businesses would appreciate the lift In patronage

  • Local councils. Huh! Total waste of space and effort. All they do is grab as much $$ from government AND rate payers and waste it…or it magically disappears. They’re same in every state.

  • at the next council election, vote these good for nothing counciller’s out and perhaps find new people from your village as or business owners

  • $93k should go a long way towards fixing the deficiencies in relation to safety and compliance & if the money is not used at the park then it All should be handed back to the government.

  • I think council’s in general abuse there powers.
    They are a law unto them selves, and this is just an other EXAMPLE.

  • It is now the time to inundate the NSW government to show your support for the town and the value it brings.

    Also demanding the NSW government investigate post haste the allocations of the funds of $93,000, and a refund or accountable use, which obviously has not occurred, unless lining (pockets) of NSW Government or local govt employees.

    Let’s make the council accountable now, just look at what happened in the Tweed coast, by council workers, for the so called benefits to the local community

    Step up Gladys

  • sure its nothing to do with a government official having connections with another competitive resort in the area, ?

  • Has anyone actually requested the list of “identified deficiencies in relation to safety and compliance”?

    • Apparently they don’t have to share this list though the progress association and businesses alike have asked for transparency. The council is just trying to cover themselves for not having maintained the park, like many of the other council owned assets around our town. There’s one angry town out here.

    • Insufficient (nil) fire hydrants.
      Amenities not within specified distance to campsites.
      These deficiencies relate to the non powered camping area.

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