Popular summer holiday hotspot Whangamata Motor Camp has been sold.
Caravan owners were sent an email from the camp's management office on October 28 advising the owner had entered into an unconditional agreement to sell the business and the land.
A settlement date was set for August 31 this year and the purchaser was Triumph Nominees Ltd, the letter said.
"We understand that the purchaser does want to continue the business for some period after settlement," the letter said.
"With your permission we will pass on your details to the purchaser so that they can contact you to discuss future arrangements for the ongoing operation of the motor camp following settlement."
The 1.66ha site at 104 Barbara Ave is 100m from the beach. It is currently filled with caravans and associated outbuildings for holidaymakers who buy an annual rental of the space.
Whangamata Motor Camp management would not comment on the sale.
The campground has been owned by commercial property investment company Key Capital.
Company director Wayne Leach confirmed the sale but said confidentiality agreements meant he could not disclose the price, settlement terms or new owners' plans for the park.
"I've had it for 19 years. We've put a lot of effort into the campground," he said.
But Leach said when he was approached by the new owners, Triumph Nominees Ltd, "it was good timing".
Leach said the caravan owners would have some great memories to share.
"I haven't stayed there myself, it's been an investment for me. People have come for many years they are the people with the real memories.
"It's an iconic property... I hope it can continue, but who knows."
The Bay of Plenty Times attempted to contact Triumph Nominees Ltd for comment.
The Government land value for the site is $6.4m and rates are annually $24,617.
Caravan owners purchase an annual usage of the site and pay fees of $4400, but do not own title to the land. The payment comes with the right to have two owner-occupiers use each site, and additional guests staying in caravans must pay nightly fees of $20 per adult and $10 per child.
Darryl, who did not want his last name used, was one of the caravan owners who received the letter in October.
"Firstly, it's a great piece of land it would've exchanged hands at market value."
He said he was in two minds about the sale.
"We've been here a long time. I'm not too fussed either way," he said.
But, he said, the vibe of Whangamatā was "key".
"Once you're here it's just so good. It's just magic. But maybe it's time."
Darryl said he bought a caravan site after the camp changed ownership in the early 2000s.
"I just got a bare piece of grass and I could put what I wanted on it, which was a great deal."
His set up at the camp includes an old "hotchpotch" 20 feet (6m) caravan with a built-on annexe, enough space for his family of four children.
"We come for Christmas, New Year's, Auckland Anniversary, Waitangi Day, Beach Hop when I can."
He said if the campground was developed for housing it would be a "huge loss" for Whangamatā.
"There would be nowhere else to go unless someone else opens up another bit of land.
"The ultimate outcome would be to have part of the land as a camp. It could be done, but it would be a fraction of the size."
Darryl said he understood another letter was being sent to caravan owners in April.
Mark McDermott says he paid $34,500 in September 2020 for his site, only to receive a letter about the sale in December.
"The letter arrived two weeks after the water and power fees of $4400 were due. When the offer went unconditional, all of those caravans became worthless."
He says he did his due diligence and realises he was taking a risk that it could sell, but the offer came in "out of the blue".
"I think this community really needs to understand how the face of that beachside holiday destination is going to be affected," he said.
Mark has lived in Australia and returned home because his mother has terminal cancer.
"This was our piece of paradise, so of course I would say I was disappointed about it."
He said there were others who bought a caravan site at the motor camp and had spent quite large amounts making improvements to their site in recent months.