Park residents worry over futures

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Talking point: Nepean Liberal Party candidate Russell Joseph speaks to Capel Caravan Park residents. Picture: Supplied

CAPEL Caravan Park residents concerned about becoming “homeless” if their park is redeveloped held a meeting onsite, Friday 1 June.

Organiser Wayne Iremonger said up to 135 “mainly elderly and many long-term” residents may be forced out when their two-year notice period expires in December 2019.

The Eastbourne Road site, previously known as Sundowner Willows Caravan Park, was taken over by neighbouring retirement home proprietor The Village Glen late last year with the new owners promising that “nothing will happen for at least two years”. Rents were pegged at current prices as a goodwill gesture.

But, with time marching on, and frustrated that investments in their caravans and annexes have plummeted in value, the residents are pushing for action on their futures.

Mr Iremonger said many owner-occupiers of cabins and caravans “stand to, or have lost, thousands as they now have little to sell”.

“For many it is their lifesavings or superannuation,” he said.

“For example, a van that was valued at $96,000 before we were told of the closure recently sold for only $15,000.

“Another which was valued at $45,000 sold for just $5000.

“Many people have undertaken expensive upgrades. However, they will in most cases not be able to afford the cost of relocating to another park – if they can find one which has long-term leases and reasonable rates.”

The News is not suggesting that the owners of the park are acting unfairly in any way nor disregarding the plight of the residents.

Nepean Liberal Party candidate Russell Joseph told the meeting renters were facing uncertainty under mooted changes to the Residential Tenancies Act – another “cause for concern for tenants at Capel Caravan Park”.

He urged the park’s owners to “be clear about their intentions for the site and work with residents to develop solutions to any problems they may be facing”.

Mr Iremonger said possible solutions included finding a “willing farmer” to make available six or seven hectares for caravan residents to live in long term at nominal rents, or for the shire to “provide suitable land in or near Capel Sound which could be subdivided into smaller blocks”.

First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 12 June 2018

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