Radical idea for Naracoorte RV, van parks

There are renewed calls for more parking for RVs and caravans around Naracoorte’s town centre.

A recent Herald story on a slump in tourism spending since 2010-11 generated many comments from people who feel part of the problem is a lack of parking for larger vehicles.

The issue was discussed at a Naracoorte Lucindale Council workshop, and one councillor has since revealed his personal solution.

While conceding it was only an idea in its infancy, it might not work and might require some delicate negotiation, Cr Ken Schultz said widening a section of MacDonnell St would help solve the problem.

“In my eyes, we could carve another car width off Pioneer Park below the train, put in double lane caravan parking so you can park two side-bye-side right along the street.

“It’s close proximity to the post office and the street and everything you need, you could put tables in amongst the park and do it up, it would be so easy.”

The suggestion comes at a time when the council is discussing future improvements at the park with the Naracoorte Lions Club, and it’s clear that the Lions have a strong vested interest and sense of ownership of the park.

“I know the park is important and the idea won’t appeal to everyone, but I think it’s quite feasible,” Cr Schultz said. “There’s plenty of land there, we’d have to put in a retaining wall but that’s alright.

“Grey nomads are not going to park miles away. If they drive through a town and can’t get an easy park, they’ll keep driving to the next town.”

Cr Schultz also liked the idea suggested by Cr Rebecca Smith of moving the visitor information centre out to the area near Deviation Rd/Stewart Tce in the precinct where the new OTR is being built. That could allow more parking space for large vehicles.

“In other towns the VIC has big bus and van parking areas so people can go in and get directed. I don't think we catch half the tourists with the VIC where it is (on MacDonnell St).”

Council CEO Helen Macdonald said there were several sites around Naracoorte’s town centre that RVs and caravans could park, including a popular spot on the main street alongside the council office.

The CEO pointed out:

  • Council has parking for coaches on town square and Robertson Street which is signposted.
  • Many long vehicles – caravans and trucks, on a daily basis choose to park on Smith Street near the council offices. This gives them easy access to the shops and cafes etc.
  • There is designated long vehicle parking provided at Market Square which is within the 1km limit to the town centre that is required in RV Friendly Town guidelines.
  • Other opportunities have been explored including Riverside Drive – generally there are access or safety issues that need to be considered.

A comment on the Herald tourism story from one Facebook user that a major reason for the tourism slump was “Parking in town poor” prompted several other comments.

Teresa said: “Well it certainly is for tourists with caravans or trailers. They are expected to walk miles which older people won't do if carrying groceries. The street between Woolies and Target should be designated van parking. Or at least one side of it. We have travelled a lot of Australia and if parking is terrible we move on.”

Naracoorte Lucindale Council’s Cr Julie Earl posed the question: “Where do you think the best place would be for long vehicle parking in town?”

The responses included:

Ken: “On the opposite side of where the convent stood and sign posts with directions at the main highways.”

Teresa: “Yep! That's where I said as well Ken. So long as it's designated on one side vans only and 'policed'. We went to one town’s designated van parking and it was full of cars. They only had to go 200m more for their parking area, frustrated we moved on to another town. If you want people to change their minds and stay you first have to make parking easy.”

Robyn: “Robertson Street would be good for RVs and caravans.”

Peter: “After working in the VIC and knowing how many caravans come in there isn't nearly enough room.”

Teresa: “And the parking down the playground is hopeless only a couple of spots. Too far to walk into town and all around the streets if you’re wanting to purchase groceries.”

Bill: “Agree parking is a big problem in Naracoorte.”