Discovery Parks lease at Coogee Beach Holiday Park

Cockburn Council has put in motion a historic agreement to enter into a new 21-year lease with Discovery Parks (DP) at Coogee Beach Holiday Park (CBHP), with an option to renew for another 21 years.

The Council voted unanimously to approve the Business Plan, Heads of Agreement and to finalise the Lease at its Ordinary Meeting on Thursday 10 June.

It is designed to ensure long term residents impacted by DPs proposed $13.5m redevelopment over an estimated 13 years, will receive help to find alternative sites and a contribution to moving and site remediation costs of up to $20,000.

The City of Cockburn (the City) has acknowledged the high level of community concern and anxiety around the proposal to offer DP a new lease to operate CBHP.

DPs current lease is due to expire on 30 June 2022 but until a new lease is finalised it cannot provide any tenancy agreements to residents beyond that time.

The principles of the tenants’ assistance package includes DP assisting with relocation costs and assistance to find suitable vacant long-stay sites within its network, including Coogee Beach and Woodman Point, if the dwellings are reasonably capable of relocation.

DP would provide assistance with relocation costs, including service reconnection and site remediation, providing the total cost does not exceed $20,000.

If a dwelling is physically unable to be relocated, DP will offer to rehouse tenants within its network, including Coogee Beach and Woodman Point, for a comparable rent. This rent will be reduced by an amount equal to the cost of relocating the dwelling, capped at $20,000 (less remediation and demolition costs).

Residents who decline or are unable to be accept these offers would be offered an ex-gratia payment by DP equivalent to the potential cost of relocating their dwelling, capped at $20,000 (less remediation and demolition costs).

Residents in the redevelopment area will be given 180 days’ notice prior to when the stage of redevelopment that affects them is planned to begin.

DP will also grant security of tenure to residents whose dwellings are not affected, by offering a seven+seven year tenancy arrangement.

The redevelopment work timeframe will be extended to provide existing residents with time to make arrangements with DP to relocate their dwellings by staging the works over seven years, with final completion within 13 years.

The City of Cockburn will also continue to negotiate with DP to enable residents to sell their dwellings in the proposed redevelopment area.

City of Cockburn Mayor Logan Howlett said the City had worked hard to negotiate with DP to achieve the best possible outcome for the 40 affected long-term tenants, while also meeting its obligations to the State Government under its Management Order for the caravan park site.   

“DP has also worked hard in good faith with the City to help its residents in a situation where there is no legal obligation for DP to provide any compensation or assistance to its tenants.

“The community can look forward to this site becoming the focal point of a thriving tourism industry. It will become a sought-after destination offering affordable short-stay accommodation that will foster economic growth and local employment in the medium to long term while also safeguarding long-term tenants.”

The Business Plan, as required by the Local Government Act 1995, was advertised between 11 February and 26 March, including via the City’s online engagement website Comment on Cockburn.

The City is not a party to the tenancy agreements between DP and CBHP tenants which means the City cannot intervene in these agreements.

The City is not in a legal position to provide financial guarantees or commitments for agreements and contracts made between DP and its tenants.

Below are some of the facts about the process that must be followed, as opposed to discussing individual leases, as the City has no legal right to interfere with the operation of sub-leases.
 
Please direct any queries to Discovery Parks via email at coogee.residents@discoveryparks.co.au

 

What is the background on the land (and what can and can’t happen there)?

  1. The CBHP is located on a Crown Reserve (Reserve 29678) controlled by the State government. It is not Freehold land. The State has issued the City a Management Order (MO) over the land. The MO creates the framework with how the City can use and administer the land. There are no changes to the reserve or the lease area.
     

  2. The current MO grants the City the power to lease the site for the purposes of a caravan park.
     

  3. A caravan park is defined as an area of land contained for the parking of caravans or the erection of camps. Caravans are further defined as a vehicle designed, or fitted, or being capable of use, as habitation or for dwelling or sleeping purposes. The key component is that a caravan is designated as a vehicle (i.e. which has wheels and is moveable).
     

  4. Long-stay parks, such as residential parks, park home parks, lifestyle villages or a mix of these park types are not considered caravan parks and are not permitted under the MO (Note: this is not a discretion Council has the power to over-ride). It must be noted that while people have resided in the Park for many years, these have always only been periodic short term arrangements, not long term agreements. Please direct any queries to Discovery Parks at email Discovery Parks at coogee.residents@discoveryparks.com.au
     

  5. The State recognises that caravan parks may provide a range of accommodation products to meet visitor demand such as powered and unpowered camp sites, minimal service recreational vehicle sites, on-site vans, cabins, chalets and eco/safari tents. Caravan parks can also provide permanent structures such as caretaker’s dwelling/manager’s residence, shop/office, café, games/recreation room, ablution facilities, camp kitchen and camp laundry.

Why was the Management Order changed to allow for a longer time period?

  1. Previously the MO allowed the City to lease the land on the reserve for up to 21 years.
  2. The current lease to DP was for a fixed lease term which will terminate on 30 June 2022.
  3. The change to the MO to allow the City to lease the land on the reserve for a longer lease term (up to 42 years):
  • Aligns with the City’s long term (50 year) Coogee Beach Foreshore Management Plan (CBFMP) to safeguard and manage the risks from coastal erosion to the beach, paths, carparks, playgrounds, toilets, the park, surf club and café
  • The longer term lease is required in order to provide the appropriate return on the proposed $13.5 million capital investment by DP.
     
  • A 42-year lease will generate more funds to be reinvested into the reserve land in accordance with the CBFMP, noting the funds received by the City are to be used for undertaking upgrades consistent with the CBFMP. This will reduce the financial burden on the City’s ratepayers.

What are the lease arrangements for the caravan park?

  1. CBHP (the Park) is currently leased to Colorado Parks Land Co Pty Ltd which is a subsidiary of the Discovery Holiday Parks (Pty) Ltd (DP). The current lease commenced on 1 July 2002 and the first term expired on 30 June 2012. There were two options available to the lessee of five years each, both of which have been exercised and the final expiry date will be 30 June 2022. DP, following discussions with the City, agreed to a process whereby the City could initiate a new lease over the site ahead of the expiry of the current lease.
     

  2. It should be noted that the provisions of the current lease allow DP to sublease portions of the Park on both a short-stay and long-stay basis. The City has no legal right to interfere with the operations of these sub-leases. This also means that any sub-leases may not be longer than the current period of the head-lease.
     

  3. Current long-stay lessees have a periodic site only agreement with DP. As such they only own the structure and sub-lease the site upon which the structure sits. The structures are all required to be transportable (i.e. physically able to be moved) in accordance with the definition of a caravan.

What is the proposal and future of the caravan park?

  1. The current lease expires in June 2022. With this deadline in mind, in 2018 the Council commenced a process for the future arrangements and tenure of the controlled land.
     

  2. A Request for Proposal for the Park was publicly advertised on 15 September 2018 by the City seeking an open public expression from caravan park operators.
     

  3. DP was advised on 15 May 2019 that its proposal was preferred, subject to the MO being amended to allow for a 42-year lease and the satisfactory public advertising of a Business Case, in accordance with s3.59 of the Local Government Act 1995.
     

  4. The basis of the DP proposal is the assumption that this area will be developed as a strategic tourist destination and caravan park, consistent with the City’s tourism and economic objectives.  
     

  5. A Business Case was adopted by Council at its Ordinary Council Meeting on 10 June 2021. In late 2019 the Department of Planning, Land and Heritage required the City to prepare a Foreshore Management Plan that took into consideration longer term coastal inundation and erosion, based on current projected sea level rise estimates.
     

  6. The Coogee Beach Foreshore Management Plan was adopted by Council in November 2020. In December 2020 the Minister advised that he was prepared to endorse a revised MO for a period of 42 years, subject to a 10 yearly coastal hazard risk assessment being undertaken and that any structures/infrastructure be relocated should it fall within a revised coastal setback.
     

  7. The Business Plan was publicly advertised for submissions, as required by the Local Government Act 1995, between 11 February and 26 March, including via the City’s online engagement website Comment on Cockburn.
     

  8. Future redevelopment of the Park will be required to also follow the guidance provided by the Western Australian Planning Commission within the Caravan Parks Planning Bulletin. This includes meeting the objective of ensuring the development and long term retention of caravan parks as a form of short-stay (affordable) accommodation primarily for leisure tourists and where there is any long-stay accommodation, this should complement the short-stay sites with priority given to locating short-stay accommodation on those areas of the site providing the highest tourism amenity.
     

  9. DP will be required to invest $13.5m into the Park on upgrades with the majority completed over the first seven years and the remainder completed by year 13 of the Lease.
     

  10. The MO includes provisions that the City must allocate and use the income received from the lease of the caravan park on the reserve or other surrounding reserves in the area. The income received from the lease will be quarantined to undertake the works recommended by the CBFMP in the future. This will ensure income collected from the reserve is spent for the benefit of the reserve.

What about the current sub-lessees (tenants)?

  1. When the City has finalised the Heads of Agreement and new Lease, long-stay lessees will need to negotiate directly with DP to take into account their individual circumstances. Residents may seek their own legal advice.
     

  2. As has always been the case, the City has no legal right to interfere with the operations of sub-leases between DP and its tenants.
     

  3. DP previously clearly stated its intention to engage with current residents to find alternative options should their current sites be needed for any future relocation.

I was not made aware of the conditions of my tenancy at the time of purchase and now find myself unable to sell my dwelling. What do I do?

This question seeks advice as to recourse and obligations further to the residents' acquisition of their tenancy. The City is not a party to dealings between residents and DP and cannot advise as to residents' recourse and DPs obligations. The City has been reassured by DP CEO Grant Wilckens that there are a number of potential resolutions that can be considered for any residents affected by any proposed redevelopment of CBHP. This could include the relocation of caravans/park homes within CBHP itself or alternative accommodation within the DP network, but DP is unable to make any guarantees at this stage.

Is the City incumbent to financially contribute to residents?

The City is not a party to dealings between residents and DP. The City has no plans to provide a financial contribution to residents out of ratepayer funds. The City has no plans to provide a financial contribution to residents out of ratepayer funds. However, the City has negotiated a financial assistance package to be funded by DP as detailed above. 

What is happening now?

  1.  Cockburn Council has put in motion a historic agreement to enter into a new 21-year lease with Discovery Parks (DP) at Coogee Beach Holiday Park (CBHP), with an option to renew for another 21 years.

    The Council voted unanimously to approve the Business Plan, Heads of Agreement and to finalise a new Lease at its Ordinary Meeting on Thursday 10 June.

    It is designed to ensure long term residents impacted by DPs proposed $13.5m redevelopment over an estimated 13 years, will receive help to find alternative sites and a contribution to moving and site remediation costs of up to $20,000.

    The principles of the tenants’ assistance package includes DP assisting with relocation costs and assistance to find suitable vacant long-stay sites within its network, including Coogee Beach and Woodman Point, if the dwellings are reasonably capable of relocation.

    DP would provide assistance with relocation costs, including service reconnection and site remediation, providing the total cost does not exceed $20,000.

    If a dwelling is physically unable to be relocated, DP will offer to rehouse tenants to vacant long-stay sites within its network, including Coogee Beach and Woodman Point, for a comparable rent. This rent will be reduced by an amount equal to the cost of relocating the dwelling, capped at $20,000 (less remediation and demolition costs).

    Residents who decline or are unable to be accept these offers would be offered an ex-gratia payment by DP equivalent to the potential cost of relocating their dwelling, capped at $20,000 (less remediation and demolition costs).

    Residents in the redevelopment area will be given 180 days’ notice prior to when the stage of redevelopment that affects them is planned to begin.

    DP will also grant security of tenure to residents whose dwellings are not affected, by offering a seven+seven year tenancy arrangement.

    The redevelopment work timeframe will be extended to provide existing residents with time to make arrangements with DP to relocate their dwellings by staging the works over seven years, with final completion within 13 years.

    The City of Cockburn will continue to negotiate with DP to enable residents to sell their dwellings in the proposed redevelopment area.

    The City will also approach Main Roads WA, the Minister for Planning, Lands and Heritage and the local MLA to pursue the vesting of a portion of the former railway reserve to the west of Cockburn Road, Coogee Beach in the City for 42 years.

    This purpose of this land would be recreation, caravan park and camping ground and the City has recently secured conditional ‘in principle’ consent from Main Roads WA.

    All funds the City receives from DP will be quarantined in a reserve for the specific purpose of maintaining and upgrading the surrounding foreshore and reserves as detailed in the Management Order.

    Just over $5m of this will be received in the first four years and will be quarantined for work required under the Coogee Beach Foreshore Management Plan and in accordance with the Land Management Order, to ensure ratepayers will not pay for this costly coastal work.

    The upgraded caravan park will help the City develop the Coogee coastal strip for a range of tourism and community uses including revitalised facilities at Coogee Beach café, the surf club, dive trail, Port Coogee marina and Manning Park.

    The proposal is likely to require upgrades for Cockburn Road to enable better access to Coogee Beach and the holiday park.  

    The redevelopment work timeframe will be extended to provide existing residents with time to make arrangements with DP to relocate their dwellings by staging the works over seven years, with final completion within 13 years.

    The City has provided publicly available information via this webpage advising of the lease and tenure processes, what the facts are and what the City and Council can and can’t do.

    The Business Plan was publicly advertised for submissions, as required by the Local Government Act 1995, between 11 February and 26 March, including via the City's online engagement website Comment on Cockburn.
     

Can the Heads of Agreement and the proposed plans by Discovery Parks and City of Cockburn be viewed by the residents before it is signed? What will be in the lease?

The City has advertised a Business Plan with information on the content of the Heads of Agreement and lease, and is undertaking consultations with residents.
                              
The City will only issue a copy of a commercial legal document to a party of the document. The document is only relative to the parties to the document ie the City and DP.

Will Discovery Parks give us a time frame for when the redevelopment starts and be more transparent about the plans?

Residents have individual tenancy agreements with DP which the City is not a party to. Tenants will now be involved in negotiations with DP to discuss individual relocation arrangements.
 

Contact

Please direct any queries to 08 9411 3444 or email customer@cockburn.wa.gov.au
 
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