Council threatens farmer with $180,000 fine over campsite
A DAIRY farm that uses camping as means to stay afloat has been threatened by council with a fine so large it would destroy their business.
Farmer Shane Paulger shared his disgust on social media, in a post that has been shared over 1300 times, calling council a "bully", "heavy handed" and having "no common sense".
"Friday afternoon we received an enforcement notice from the Sunshine Coast Council," he said.
"We have tried to reason with this council for nigh on 12 months.
"Instead of offering support, they bully us with the threat of a fine of up to $183,150. It appears the aim is to bleed us dry of funds for the coastal strip."
HOW THE STORY BROKE
- Council threatens farmer with $180,000 fine over campsite
- Council: Why we had to threaten farmer with $180,000 fine
- Camp site crackdown: Party attacks council threat to farmer
Kenilworth Camping has received a letter from council advising it to comply or desist - but meeting council's demands will leave the farm hundreds of thousands out of pocket.
"All the fees, and you've got to get consultants involved, it's probably $6000 or $7000 (per campground)," Mr Paulger said.
"We've got five kilometres of river access that our property access and our campground and follows our river along. We'd probably want to register for 100 camp sites.
"Quite simply we do not have the money to do what they require."
The Paulger family has run Adadale Farm for more than 60 years. Mr Paulger said although council likes to be seen to foster a farm friendly community, the reality is actually the opposite.
"We are disgusted that the council claims to have policies supportive of farmers," he said.
"When one of the areas last dairy farming families like us who has nurtured and owned this farm for 60 years diversify our operation offering camping to keep our farm afloat financially, council's sole aim seems hell bent on stopping camping on our farm.
"They appear not to understand the (money) our little campground adds to our Kenilworth community."
Should the council change how it deals with camping on farms?
This poll ended on 05 July 2017.
Yes, the farmers need all the help they can get.
The fees should be lowered, but the regulations are still important.
No, the rules are there to protect legitimate camping businesses.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
In his social media post Mr Paulger took aim at Mayor Mark Jamieson and Cr Greg Rogerson using council's destruction of Buderim's Urban Food Street as an example of the "out of touch, unsympathetic, bureaucratic Sunshine Coast Council".
"We feel very let down by Mayor Mark Jamieson and Greg Rogerson.
"It appears common sense has no place in this council's decisions if the mulched fruit trees planted by the community in the Urban Food Street at Buderim are any guide.
"These actions display how out of touch this council really is.
"We are so disappointed that the enforcement notice states that they have received numerous complaints about our property being used as a campground (most likely from competitors).
"Assisting a local dairy farming family who have shown some initiative by allowing campers a spacious place to camp along the river on our farm to share the beautiful surrounds doesn't rate."
Despite the threat of hefty fines, Mr Paulger said he would not back down.
"The Kenilworth Camping team would hope that you, our loyal and happy campers, will continue to support us now more than ever during this battle by camping with us and keep enjoying the natural beauty of our Adadale property we call Kenilworth Camping.
"It is going to be a David and Goliath battle against the might and money of Sunshine Coast Council.
"Somebody has to rein in this out of touch, unsympathetic, bureaucratic Sunshine Coast Council. Help us force change and right this injustice."
Council have been approached for comment.