Council has reopened the recently upgraded Greenpatch camping ground in Gordonvale after reviewing its wet season closing protocols for the safety of patrons.
On the banks of the Mulgrave River, which is prone to flooding, the popular campground opened November 1, but was closed this month for safety reasons (related to potential flooding) in accordance with the Greenpatch Campground Implementation and Management plan.
The recent review allows Council be flexible with its shut down procedures in response to weather conditions, rather than applying set closing dates, which will optimise use of the facility.
Division 1 Councillor Brett Moller said that in response to community feedback and in recognition of the current dry weather conditions and with testing of an early warning siren system now complete, it made sense to reopen the campground and its facilities.
“The safety of the public was always Council’s primary concern and until we were satisfied that we had processes in place to ensure the wellbeing of Greenpatch users, it was appropriate the facility was closed,” Cr Moller said.
“Data from the BoM shows the area has flooded 14 times between 2000 and 2017, and there were three times in 2018 where there was inundation. Even a ‘minor’ flood can see most of the campsites under water.
“We know that weather modelling is much more accurate today than it was even a decade again, which gives us the confidence to keep the campground open and only close it as required in direct response to forecast rain events.
“In the unlikely event that we do have a deluge, the warning siren system which will give users ample time to evacuate prior to a flooding event.”
The warning system has sensors installed at the Mulgrave River and Hemming Creek to monitor rainfall and water heights, which will trigger a siren to alert people at the park of the risk and to evacuate.
Council officers also monitor weather forecasts to determine if there is a significant threat of heavy rainfall and Greenpatch needs to be closed for safety.
The campground underwent a $2.4 million upgrade this year, providing 42 campsites and includes a new amenities block with toilets and showers, dump point and day-use facilities such as picnic spots.