Forecast bright for new Surfside family

IF Alex Reardon’s knack for picking sunny days in Warrnambool is any indication, holidaymakers should be in for a good summer.

The 26-year-old, who is  the new manager of the city council’s two foreshore parks, struck a beautiful spring day when he came for the job interview in September and another on his first day in the new role a few weeks later.

“My biggest impression was how friendly the people were, it’s above-average,” he said. 

“We were looking for a nice place to settle down and raise a family — Warrnambool is ideal.

“Our second child Madeleine was born  here four weeks ago, so we have a local connection already.”

His partner Rebecca and their first child Lachlan are used to the hectic lifestyle of  running holiday parks, having been previously at Coffs Harbour and Lodge Point, north of Perth.

The couple first got a taste of the industry working at  a Brisbane caravan park before applying for management positions elsewhere. 

“We fell in love with the idea,” he said. “Our first job was in Karratha in the Kimberleys where we stayed a year before going to Lodge Point for two years.

“It’s a great career where you meet lots of people enjoying themselves. 

“You can have someone in a $500,000 Winnebago camped beside someone in a $50 tent and they are getting along as friends. It’s unpredictable and there can be dramas around customer service.”

Mr Reardon fills the shoes of  Alby Lewis who retired after 25 years running the parks, which can have up to 5000 people staying at one time. “I will be working with the staff learning about the operation,” he said.

“We hope to able to develop the business to capture more of the off-peak market, the grey nomads,  Wicked van travellers and the internationals who just come into the region for a day.”

He’s also been advised about the influx of local people taking annual Christmas family holidays at the foreshore.

“This is the first time I’ve come across a centre where locals have done this in such large numbers,” he said.

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