Christmas fears from Imbil van park crisis

7th December 2017 5:00 AM
CHRISTMAS CONCERN: Ron Jeffery of Ron Jeffery Reality in Imbil where the business community is anxiously awaiting the re-opening of the town's busiest camping grounds, the Island Reach Camping Resort. CHRISTMAS CONCERN: Ron Jeffery of Ron Jeffery Reality in Imbil where the business community is anxiously awaiting the re-opening of the town's busiest camping grounds, the Island Reach Camping Resort. Renee Albrecht

IMBIL'S Island Reach Camping Resort, a vital pillar of the town's Christmas holiday economy, is in crisis - again.

Imbil business people yesterday said they hoped the crisis would pass quickly and be only another bad moment in what has been a worrying year.

Business interests in the tourist-dependent town had a bad month in October, when Borumba Dam camp ground closed, after Seqwater lease changes.

Business interests sighed with relief almost exactly four weeks later, on November 23, when brothers Terry and Peter Holliday announced they had taken over the camp grounds, with an immediate return to business as usual.

But the new Island Reach issue is another big threat to Christmas for the town's cafes, shops and hotel.

And it comes just over a year after the resort's last crisis, in which Gympie Regional Council threatened to sell the property for arrears in rates.

Owners averted that potential disaster by paying up prior to the auction, which followed news that the resort was one of 2741 properties owing a total of $6.9 million in rates.

This time the trouble is believed to involve the mortgagee.

And something is definitely going on, with long-term tenants moving out and contractors at work doing up the resort's picturesque five-hectare creek-front site.

The resort is probably the town's most significant source of business, rated numerically as the biggest source of tourist dollars.

"It's probably the busiest camping ground in the Mary Valley,” real estate agent Ron Jeffery said.

"If it's not open at Christmas and New Year, it probably benefits other camp grounds, but they will probably be full, so it means fewer people in town.

"It's a shame,” he said of the current situation.

Co-owner Jamie Griffith said the resort was now "helping some of our longer term tenants move on”.

"We're still in negotiations with the bank,” he said.

"I have no further comment while negotiations are going on,” he said.