The owner of Granite Belt campsite Foxbar Falls said he would be open to offering the site to the government to use for quarantine.
The owner of Granite Belt campsite Foxbar Falls said he would be open to offering the site to the government to use for quarantine.

Granite Belt campsites could be used for quarantine

A POPULAR Granite Belt campsite has been offered to the government to be used as a quarantine centre.

This comes as our health region's total number of coronavirus cases continues to rise.

Following the closure of all campsites last week, the Caravan Industry Association of Australia announced designated facilities across Queensland were ready and available to the government to help with the quarantine of overseas arrivals.

"We are asking for cabin accommodation within caravan parks to be treated the same as hotels and motels with regard to workers and those required to self-isolate," a representative said.

"We can be part of the solution in the government's initiative to stop the spread of COVID-19 and are frustrated that up to 38,000 cabins may sit idly empty around the country unnecessarily.

"We implore state governments to pick up the phone and activate our industry to support you in this time of need."

Foxbar Falls owner Tim Harslett said he was open to the idea of the site being used for quarantine, under the condition all health and safety restrictions were made first priority.

"I mean it's the perfect place to self-isolate because there is nobody around," Mr Harslett said.

"If the regulations allowed us to do that, then it is something we could look into."

The campsite had its "best weekend (of business) yet" during the Apple & Grape Harvest festivities, and Mr Harslett said he would do everything he could to keep the ball rolling.

"We are completely closed to the public and will remain that way until told otherwise," he said.

"We finally get up and running and this happens. It's not the best timing."

But Mr Harslett said he remained "quietly confident" about the future of the campsite.

"People wanting to go on holidays won't want to be going overseas or on a cruise," he said.

"That puts camping in a really good position."

With green grass, dams full and the grounds ready to go, Mr Harslett said the plan of attack was to ride out the next few months and start up again stronger than ever once restrictions were lifted.

"Keeping positive is all we can do," Mr Harslett said.

Foxbar Falls isn't the only site in the region that has been temporarily closed - Southern Downs Regional Council closed its overnight campsites at Dalveen and Allora, as well as the 72-hour camping place at Leyburn following the closures of the Washpool Reserve and Connolly Dam campsites last week.

The council informed residents the closures were in line with the government direction to close all campgrounds from March 26.

"The direction lists campgrounds as a non-essential business, activity or undertaking," a representative said.

"Similarly, caravan parks are considered non-essential, except for those where people live permanently or are staying as interim abodes where their primary residence is not available."

The sites will remain closed until further notice.

As for smaller campsites still able to continue operation, Maric Park Cottages operator Marion McCulloch said they would also be open to the idea of having their facilities used for quarantine purposes.

"I think it is a great idea," Ms McCulloch said.

"We have 40 acres, so if people were self-contained and followed the health guidelines I wouldn't see it as a problem."

Ms McCulloch said bookings were hard to come by due to the pandemic.

"We are still open, but we aren't getting any bookings," she said.

"We will take anyone we can get at this point."

Stanthorpe Border Post

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