Discovery Parks lease at Coogee Beach Holiday Park


The City of Cockburn (the City) acknowledges the high level of community concern and anxiety around a proposal to offer Discovery Parks (DP) a new lease to operate Coogee Beach Holiday Caravan Park (CBHP). DP's current lease is due to expire on 30 June 2022.

As such DP is not able to provide any tenancy agreements to residents beyond June 2022, unless the City enters into a new lease with DP.

The City has undertaken a national Expression of Interest process and determined that DP is the preferred operator for the CBHP.  The Council is yet to make a determination on the Business Plan or a new lease with DP.

The City is working very hard to be in a position to progress the decision-making process to the next stage. This will provide much-needed future clarity for both residents and DP.

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 plans to present a report and recommendations concerning the Business Plan, Heads of Agreement and Lease to the June 2021 Council meeting, for the Council to make a determination.

Individuals who made submissions will be advised in writing, providing a chance to read recommendations to be considered by Council.

The City is not a party to the tenancy agreements between DP and CBHP tenants, which means the City cannot intevene 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.

The City has been reassured by DP CEO Grant Wilckens’ previous confirmation that DP is prepared to provide a number of potential relocation options that can be considered for any residents affected by any proposed redevelopment of CBHP should DP be granted a new lease for the park.

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 until it has been granted a new lease.

We understand that DP has committed to engage with tenants to help where possible to find alternative accommodation options should their site be impacted by any proposed future development.

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 at 08 8219 3000 or email Discovery Parks at coogee.residents@discoveryparks.com.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 08 8219 3000 or 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 was 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. Permanent type fixed structures, which some of these structures appear to be now, are not permitted.

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. The Business Case is required to be prepared and adopted by Council as it has been determined that the new lease constitutes a major land transaction under the Act. 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. 

    The City plans to present a report and recommendations concerning the Business Plan, Heads of Agreement and Lease to the June 2021 Council meeting, for the Council to make a determination.
     
    Individuals who made submissions will be advised in writing, providing a chance to read recommendations to be considered by Council.
     

  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 $9.5 million into the Park on upgrades over the first five years 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. 
     

City of Cockburn Business Plan for a major land transaction

Consultation has now concluded.

What about the current sub-lessees (tenants)?

  1. A number of the long-stay lessees have approached DP with requests to sell/reassign their sub-leases to a third party. DP has responded by advising that they are not able to issue any sub-lease beyond June 2022 and that they would not be entering into any new leases at this time. DP has the right to refuse the sale/reassignment of any sub-lease. DP has advised that until it has a degree of certainty from the City that it will have a new long term lease over the park, that it is unable to provide any details on its plans for redevelopment of the park. The City acknowledges that the lack of information from DP on the intended redevelopment has caused a degree of anxiety and stress amongst the lessees.

    To provide further clarity for park residents, DP and the City will continue to work to finalise negotiations for the Heads of Agreement and the proposed Lease with a view to resolving this as soon as possible. The City appreciates the patience of the community as this lengthy process is undertaken.
     

  2. The CEO of DP recently met with lessees and provided briefings to Elected Members. 
     

  3. In correspondence to residents, DP has advised that it has earmarked the land on the western beach front of the Park for redevelopment. This will potentially impact on approximately 35 long-stay lessees. DP has indicated that where possible it will work with these lessees to find alternative accommodation within the DP network although it acknowledges that such an outcome is not guaranteed. It should be clearly noted that DP’s correspondence does not state anywhere that any lease will be terminated, rather the earliest that any formal notices regarding any potential relocation would be in 2022. DP also clearly states its intention to engage with current residents to find alternative options should their current sites be needed for any future relocation.
     

Social media commentary implied that residents had been given notice to vacate by early next year. This is incorrect and misleading and has been a source of confusion and angst amongst residents and the public.

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 cosnidered 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. 

What is happening now?

  1. 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.
     

  2. 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. The City plans to present a report and recommendations concerning the Business Plan, Heads of Agreement and Lease to the June Council meeting for the Council to make a determination.
    Individuals wo made submissions will be advised in writing, providing a chance to read recommendations to be onsidered by Council. 
    Council's determination on the future of the CBHP will be what it deems the best interests of the local government as a whole and consistent with its obligations under the MO for the land and the permissible uses under the relevant legislation.
     

  3. Following a meeting between residents and representatives of Discovery Parks on 18 February 2021, Discovery Parks has agreed to individual one-on-one meetings with all potentially impacted residents to determine their respective needs, abilities and expectations in relation to their individual sites. It should be noted that under commercial law the City is not permitted to talk directly to lessees about provisions contained within their sub leases or provide any commitments to individual lessees. The City understands that the one-on-one meetings have taken place. Please direct any queries to Discovery Parks at 08 8219 3000 or email Discovery Parks at coogee.residents@discoveryparks.com.au
  4. ​Subject to all of the submissions and petitions being dealt with, it is the City's intention that the Heads of Agreement and Lease will be considered at the June Ordinary Council Meeting.

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 Council will consider the submissions received in due course.
                              
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. The major clauses of the Heads of Agreement will be considered by Council at the June Council Meeting.

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

Residents have a tenancy agreement with DP which the City is not a party to.

The DP lease terminates on 30 June 2022. Once DP has certainty about a new lease it will be in a better position to determine time frames and provide more detailed information to residents.

The City and DP are working towards an indicative redevelopment plan that will be considered in conjunction with the lease by Council at a future Council meeting.

How much will the Council know about DPs plans before granting the lease?

The City and DP are working towards an indicative redevelopment that will be considered in conjunction with the lease by Council at a future Council meeting.
 

Contact

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