A decision to ban visitors from carting fuel into six popular holiday destinations has been labelled as an “absolute joke” as uproar spreads throughout the Central West’s boating community.
Keen fishermen, water sport enthusiasts and holiday goers strongly opposed the news following its announcement by Reflections Holiday Parks CEO, Steve Edmonds, in a media statement on Tuesday.
The statement confirms Lake Burrendong at Mumbil and Mookerawa Waters in Stuart Town are involved in the regulation change, as too is Wyangala Dam near Cowra and Burrinjuck Dam further south.
The statement explains fuel facilities at each park won’t be available from May 29 due to an upgrade in the group’s inland park revitalisation program which provides a 10-year road map for the redevelopment and structure of the community assets.
At the same time visitors are not permitted to carry fuel via portable container into the parks for vehicles or boats.
Fuel facilities will be restored within parks once the new infrastructure has been put into place.
Guests are instead advised to fill their vehicles and boats at the nearest fuel stations, which means a minimum 30-kilometre commute to a township from each location.
“We are acting on expert advice to shut these down,” a Reflections spokesperson said.
“We were always going to be upgrading these fuel facilities and as part of expert recommendations their advice was to shut them down, they don’t comply with current Legislation and Australian safety standards.
“Considering safety is mandatory we just had to shut them down.”
I’ve camped there since I was a little girl every Christmas and New Year… looks like we’ll be finding a new camping destination.Olivia Mitchell
The spokesperson acknowledged the parks’ isolation, particularly at Wyangala Dam where whole communities rely on the service station.
“We are looking at options now,” the spokesperson said. “It’s certainly not something we’d anticipated, we’ve acted immediately on advice to shut them down and now we’re investigating options to service our guests.”
The news has angered regular visitors to Burrendong Dam who took to Facebook to voice their frustration.
One Facebook user asked if guests would see a reduction in site fees in compensation, while Olivia Mitchell said it was an “absolute joke”.
“I’ve camped there since I was a little girl every Christmas and New Year… looks like we’ll be finding a new camping destination,” she wrote.
Alan Coghill called for a public boat ramp separate from the park, and Blake Bowman asked if management would cover the fuel bill to tow boats to the nearest service station.
Several other Facebook users said they would seek alternate locations for annual holidays.