IT?S NOT THE GOOD LIFE FOR BONVILLE FARMER
By MEL MARTIN
PAT Holbut feels she has been backed into a corner.
She is about to lose her home and business of 35 years at Bonville, with no chance of being able to replace it with anything that comes even close to what she has.
"I'm in a big pickle," she said.
"I've got 50 acres here, and there are no 50- or even 25-acre blocks around here.
"Everyone is waiting for the rural strategy to go through so they can subdivide, so anything that big is out at Lanitza or somewhere like that.
"I've been searching for that long. I've driven up and down and around, and on rough old dirt roads. I've got every agent working on it but there's just nothing around."
But Ms Holbut has no choice ? the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) needs her land to build the Bonville deviation through it, and she says the offer they have made her wouldn't buy her anything that would remotely match what she has ? even if such a property existed.
"Properties have gone up so much," Ms Holbut said.
"I've got deepwater creek frontage on Pine Creek, and that's unique," she said.
"And my family lives here, I don't want to go too far from them.
"Then the RTA have the audacity to tell me that land on the highway is not worth as much, but what's that out at Korora and Sapphire if not land on the highway? They'll come up with anything."
Once she signs the contract, Ms Holbut will have eight weeks to vacate, and if she hasn't found a property by then, she will have to get rid of her many goats, cows, and all the many fish species in her fish hatchery that she has been researching ? a business she has been winding down, knowing the RTA wouldn't pay for it.
"It destroys your life, because when you have something like this hanging over my head for so long, everything you do is temporary."
And that's not to mention the five hectares of her property that front Archville Station Road, which she was banking on to subdivide.
"That was my retirement package and that's gone up the shoot," Ms Holbutt said. "They don't realise the amount of trauma this is causing for landholders.
"I feel threatened and I know I'm running out of time."