Bill Ryan is angry that his site at Sawtell Beach Caravan Park won't go to his grandkids.
Bill Ryan is angry that his site at Sawtell Beach Caravan Park won't go to his grandkids. Luke Keioskie

Kick in the guts for caravan park residents

“THIS is my home.”

That's how Bill Ryan, a long-term resident of Sawtell Beach Caravan Park, describes the converted caravan he's lived in for the past 11 years.

Over that time, he's put thousands of dollars into the place to make a comfortable home for him to live out the rest of his days.

“I put money into the place because I want to leave it to my kids and grandkids,” Bill said. “To be told I can't is a real kick in the guts.”

And Bill's not the only one, with many of the 50 long-term residents at Sawtell Beach Caravan Park reeling from the news that long-term accommodation is being phased out at the park.

The news isn't good for Col Gaynor. Three months ago, Col paid $8500 for a caravan at the park, and was told that his plans to put a demountable cabin on the site should be fine as long as he applied to do it.

“Two weeks later I'm told there's no way it's going to happen,” Col said.

“I only bought the caravan so I could have the site - you can't even live in the caravan, it's that old.”

Col has been caught by a catch-22, since he can't add to the site and if he takes the caravan away, the site goes back to the Park.

Another resident, Cath Wilson, said she had been hoping to leave her site to her six daughters.

“I've been here for more than 10 years, what happens when I want to sell?” Cath said.

At a meeting yesterday, Sawtell Beach Caravan Park residents were told their course of action was to make submissions to the Department of Lands by October 31.


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