Unhappy camper as Straddie campsites close for Christmas
Two of the state's most picturesque campsites on North Stradbroke Island will be closed over the peak Christmas season, sparking a row between an unhappy camper and the Indigenous land owners.
Minjerriba Camping, which manages nine sites for the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation, told campers last week grounds at Adam's Beach and Bradbury's Beach, both at Dunwich, would be shut over Christmas.
Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation chief executive Cameron Costello said a decision was made in March to carry out as much maintenance as possible at the island's camp grounds before year's end.
But, he said some work at Dunwich had not been completed because COVID restrictions had hampered contractors coming on to the island where there were concerns for elders catching the virus.
The closure announcement, six weeks before Christmas, infuriated long-term camper Michael Pavlic, who booked and paid $1000 for his site a year ago, and a further $1300 for two vehicles and a caravan on the barge.
Mr Pavlic, who has spent the past 20 Christmases at the secluded Bradbury's Beach campsite, was told the closures were necessary for capital works projects, such as road maintenance.
His anger grew when he found out that the road maintenance projects were not due to start until December and would be completed before January.
"Why couldn't these road works have been done during the year - it's not like they didn't know Christmas was coming," he said.
"Small businesses at Dunwich have already faced a tough year because the campsites were closed from April to July and they were not even consulted or told about this decision to close at Christmas.
"I asked about delaying the works until after Christmas which would also benefit the small businesses in Dunwich.
"I was told that Minjerribah Camping does not want to pay for the COVID cleaning at the two campgrounds at Adams and Bradbury's Beach and decided they could move us to other campgrounds and save money."
Mr Costello said local businesses he had spoken with were not concerned about the Christmas closure at Dunwich as they had recorded a "bumper" year.
"We have had to change the way we run the business because of COVID and where we could have once had 100 people camping we can now only have 75 so we have to look at our economies of scale," he said.
"Michael is upset because he can't camp at the usual site - which he calls his site - but it is part of a holiday park and is available to all Queenslanders.
"We will find him a suitable spot that is on a par with what he is used to."
Mr Costello said Minjerribah Camping would refund Mr Pavlic's booking fee, or roll the money over for a booking next year, if Mr Pavlic did not want to go to Amity.
Mr Pavlic said he wanted a holiday this year and was annoyed there was nowhere left to book six weeks out from Christmas.
Last month, QYAC fended off claims it was a poor financial manager when it posted a $2 million net surplus in its 2019-20 annual report.
The figure included $8 million in grants and, despite QYAC's seven holiday parks and two beach sites being shut for more than three months during COVID, camping still earned the corporation $3.6 million, down from 2019's $4.465 million.
Originally published as Unhappy camper as Straddie campsites close for Christmas