MidCoast Council destination management plan

Seal Rocks
Seal Rocks

I refer to John Stevens’ letter about the "Barrington Coast debacle”. It seems that the destination management plan has had meetings and consultations aplenty, but to me "Barrington" simply means rugged, inaccessible country where a plane disappeared many years ago with five persons still missing.

I am obviously late to the argument of the DMP but Barrington conjures not much compared to say, Seal Rocks which has allure and azure, so why not "Seal Rocks Country". Seal Rocks is used as a coastal identity point in weather reports on radio and TV and I am sure its position is locked into most minds along with a few images of beautiful beaches, lakes and fur seals.

What is needed is a destination that is instantly recognisable and easily placed and Seal Rocks Country does the trick.

With regard to the "disgraceful" youth unemployment level in "Seal Rocks Country", this is a problem up and down the coast in all but the biggest towns.

So many small businesses thrive in the school holiday times and wither and die in the long periods between those. We need to focus on attracting people in these periods and that is where the "grant system" of Destination NSW falls down by offering dollar-for-dollar grants to tourism operators who will then build attractions that will only attract during school holidays. 

What we need it a system of advertising "subsidised holidays" targeting those who are free to take holidays during school time i.e. when children have grown up, the gay community or retirees.

Half our accommodation lies empty for most of the year and if this could be utilised by offering a $100 note on arrival for those booking a week's holiday during school terms (with various qualifiers). It would generate much more business than building another grant assisted attraction, only useful during school holidays.

Holidays rentals during the Christmas period are often $1000 to $3000 and drop to $600 to $900 in February, so a rental for, say $800 for a seven day stay subsidised to $700 makes for an eye-catching advertisement to stay at the "Seal Rocks Coast". Small businesses grow and youth employment in trades and hospitality grows with it.

We had a small business in Sydney years ago, but in an ideal location, and it is a sad thing seeing small businesses outfitting and setting up at some cost and dying on the vine during the year. There must be a better way of the NSW Government helping regional communities to prosper.

Steve Johnson

Elizabeth Beach