Lifeline for caravan park residents
THE State Government has thrown a lifeline to permanent residents of a Coffs Coast caravan park, with the Lands Minister confirming a strategy to phase out long-term accommodation in Sawtell is 'likely' to be left out of the final Plan of Management. PERMANENT residents of Sawtell Beach Caravan Park should have plenty to say at a meeting with Coffs Harbour City Council in a fortnight, with an investigation by the Advocate revealing conflicting information on the draft Plan of Management for Sawtell Reserve.
A spokesperson for Coffs Harbour City Council claims 'there are no changes proposed for current long-term residents'- this is despite the Plan clearly proposing a review of long-term leases 'consistent with phasing out long-term occupancy'.
“Existing residents maintain their rights (and) no new residents have moved into the caravan park since May 2008,” the spokesperson said.
But that's news to Col Gaynor, who bought an $8500 caravan in July and started paying rent on July 18, with the intent of putting a demountable cabin on the site.
“I was told that would be fine as long as I applied to do it, but two weeks later I find out there's no way it's going to happen,” Mr Gaynor said.
In June of this year, Council was granted $10,000 to revise the Plan of Management for Sawtell Reserve, money that was used to employ consultants to work on the plans.
But the Council spokesperson said the consultants 'did not recommend a change from the previous Plan of Management', prompting residents to wonder whose idea it was to phase out long-term accommodation.
According to Sawtell Beach Caravan Park resident Alan Valja, proposals for extensions to sites have been rejected for more than twelve months.
“When was the draft Plan put to Council?” Mr Valja said.
A spokesperson for the Department of Lands said the draft Plan was on public exhibition until August 31, while Coffs Harbour City Council said submissions on the draft Plan are due by October 31.