Fiona Lidgett has been the owner of Townsville Eco Resort since 2014. In that time, she continued to make the park more sustainable for environmental and financial reasons.

Her park has received multiple awards – twice, the Ray Fitton Award for Innovation and once for the Caravanning Queensland Environmental Award. The park has also received advanced accreditation for sustainability and accessibility.

Since taking over, Ms Lidgett has recycled cans, implemented white roofs to save on air conditioning, put in LED lighting where she can, installed tinted windows, our appliances are all caught up in high star ratings, and implemented solar and battery backup power; this is not to mention the implementation of a wildlife corridor that has become home to native wildlife like ducks and birds, plus the planting of various native plants at the park.

“To me, it’s about dollars and sense,” said Ms Lidgett.

“We went down that road because to look at our building and development construction that we were going to do, it would cost over a million dollars in infrastructure charges before we could even put a shovel in the ground.

“Then we’d probably pay the council an extra 70 plus thousand a year.

“As a cost benefit to us, you have to deal with some compliance.

“Certainly, everything you have to

do with compliance – it just does my head in.

“There’s a lot of boxes to tick [when it comes to compliance]. It’s sometimes a full-time job just managing that.”

Ms Lidgett says making her park more sustainable was about more than just saving money and meeting council expectations; however, she says it is a draw card for customers.

“Our wetland area is a lovely space, and our restaurant is excellent too – you’ve got a thousand lights that go up overnight,” she says.

“It’s got great ecology where there are turtles swimming around, barramundi in the water, and different-coloured dragonflies buzzing around, and it’s a really nice aspect to sit and enjoy nature.”

But she does not believe all caravan parks are in a position to make their offerings more sustainable – as many mum and dad operators can’t afford to get over the initial hurdle of installing sustainable infrastructure in the first place.

“When I put my solar in, I did get my grant for it,” she says.

“I’ve been lucky in that space over the last five years; I’ve received over $700,000 in grants over various projects.”