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Lake Narracan Caravan Park permanent closure from December 2022 due to non-compliance with Environment Protection Act
Latrobe City Council has made the difficult decision to close Lake Narracan Caravan Park from 10 December 2022, with public health and environmental concerns bringing forward future planning to relocate the park.
As part of the decision-making process, Latrobe City Council committed to invest in a business case to establish a new purpose-built caravan park at Lake Narracan as part of the existing Lake Narracan Precinct Structure Plan. Council believes the Lake Narracan precinct provides a great investment opportunity and is committed to working through the business case process.
The Narracan Caravan Park will be permanently closed on 10 December 2022. No day visits or overnight stays will be permitted past this date
Removing the risk
Council made the challenging decision to close the park at its September 2022 meeting, following an extensive investigation process to find solutions to the ongoing challenges caused by ageing wastewater infrastructure, resulting in non-compliance with the Environment Protection Act 2017.
The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) issued the council with two Notice of Improvements relating to stormwater and wastewater management at the caravan park in October 2021.
The notices required council to modify its stormwater and wastewater management systems to remove the risk of untreated wastewater entering the nearby roadside drainage system and then into the waterway.
Requiring significant investment
Further investigation and advice from independent environmental engineering consultants, outlined that achieving full compliance would be highly complex and would require significant investment due to the age and condition of the existing infrastructure, which has been in place since the early 1990s.
Council also considered the option of increasing the cost to site holders however the increase for cost recovery over four years would have resulted in an annual increase of $5,300, a 400% increase, for the next four years. This option was considered cost prohibitive for site holders.
Address the impacts
Latrobe City Council Chief Executive Officer, Steven Piasente said council has explored all feasible options to address the impacts of the failed wastewater infrastructure issues before deciding to close the park.
"This decision was not made lightly and follows significant consideration by the council to explore all possible options in consultation with the EPA and independent environmental engineering consultants," said Mr. Piasente."
"In order to address the environmental concerns, it would have required significant increases in waste treatment infrastructure, as well as excavating large portions of the caravan park to install relevant drainage, at a significant cost to the community." Mr Piasente said.
Driving the future plans for the lake
Mr Piasente also said, "Council understands how valued the caravan park is and understands this news will be met with frustration, however, we must put the health of this valued waterway and recreational asset first and consider other options."
"Council is committed to driving the future plans for Lake Narracan, identified in the Precinct Structure Plan, which includes the opportunity to develop a destination caravan park and has financially committed to the investment of a business case." Mr Piasente said.
Lake to waste treatment plant
At its meeting on 3 October 2022, council resolved to provisionally allocate $1.5 million to connect the Lake Narracan Foreshore Precinct to the waste treatment plant.
Council will work closely with the Park Managers and licence holders over the coming months, leading up to and following the closure of the park.
All licence holders have been contacted and will not be charged for the 2022/23 site fees. More information, including Frequently Asked Questions, can be found on the Latrobe City Council website.
Pictures from Visit Latrobe website.
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