Van park residents to go
A LONG running dispute between Ballina Council and the Seabreeze Holiday Park could see about 20 residents evicted next Friday.
Seabreeze owner Glen Wright received a show cause notice from council on Monday, July 21 in relation to non-compliance issues with his On Site Sewerage Management System (OSSMS).
The notice gives him until Friday, August 1 to respond, otherwise he faces fines of up to $1 million or $120,000 a day if he continues to operate the caravan park.
Mr Wright said the upgrade to the OSSMS would cost him in the vicinity of $400,000 and he said there are other requirements needed to meet new standards for a caravan park operating licence that would cost him around $700,000 in total.
These upgrades include the need to upgrade his bore water facilities to Australian drinking water standards for showers and toilets and to have sewerage lines to permanent van sites.
Mr Wright said he is "not prepared to go into major debt and risk (his) family's future" so he is planning to close the park down.
Caught in the middle of this dispute are about 20 residents who only found out on Thursday that they might have to be out in eight days.
"Unless the Show Cause notice is revoked in writing prior to August 1, the business will close. That means the power and water will be turned off and a gate will be erected across the entrance....I don't want to do that, it makes me sad... but council has put a gun to my head," Mr Wright said.
Most of the residents in the park are single men. A few of them have been there for 10-15 years and the eldest is 87-years-old with a heart condition.
Scott Maddox has been living at Seabreeze for about five months and is spearheading the residents' campaign to see if there's any way they can stay, or at least to get an extension to the deadline.
"This is our home, we love it here... Some guys just don't have anywhere to go," he said.
Mr Maddox has been in contact with an organisation that represents park residents in NSW, the Affiliated Residential Park Residents Association (ARPRA).
A representative, Garry Martin, is flying up from Sydney next week to facilitate a meeting between the residents, the owner and the council to see if a compromise can be reached.
Ballina Council's manager of development and environmental health said they are currently considering Mr Wright's response to their notice