News

83-year-old told to get out, with nowhere to go

83-year-old pensioner and former mechanic Walter Wallace was shocked to receive a notice on Friday he has two months to vacate his Woombye Caravan Park site.
83-year-old pensioner and former mechanic Walter Wallace was shocked to receive a notice on Friday he has two months to vacate his Woombye Caravan Park site.

SEVEN elderly residents of a Sunshine Coast caravan park have been given two months to get out and no alternative place to go.

A former tenant who has stepped in to provide them with support said the men, all aged pensioners, had taken the news badly with some suicidal.

"These are 80-year-old people who are no trouble to anyone,'' Yana Vonta said.

"They're so stressed, I said I would try to help. How ruthless can it be to force them out just before Christmas.''

The tenants, all on aged pensions, live in either motorhomes or caravans that haven't moved in cases for up to 16 years.

They occupy the upper level of the Woombye Caravan Park which sits off the left-hand side of the Nambour Connection Road north of the Big Pineapple.

The area is set to be redeveloped as one and two bedroom cabins.

Last Friday they were all delivered notices to vacate from Australian Tourist Park Management, which runs the park, Lazy Acres in Hervey Bay and Monte Carlo at Cannon Hill on behalf of aged-care provider Sundale.

The letters included the contact mobile number of ATPM's operations manager who is on leave, not contactable on the number and not due to return to work before October 20.

Nicklin MP Peter Wellington has assisted residents in the park since the mid 2000s. He said the decision to issue formal eviction notices before sitting down with residents and discussing alternatives represented a lack of compassion for, or understanding of, the people who would be affected.

Mr Wellington said given the age and vulnerability of those involved the matter should have been discussed in advance and alternatives offered.

"It's deplorable,'' he said. "It reflects on the fitness of those involved to hold senior management positions responsible for the elderly in our community."

The LNP State Government announced its intention to sell the parks in 2012 with an arrangement signed with Sundale in 2014.

At the time its CEO Glenn Bunney said the organisation was committed to providing affordable accommodation in the park and planned to make improvements.

Mr Bunney said he was as angry as residents were entitled to be that the contact number they were provided was for someone who was not available.

He said now the legislated Rental Tenancy Act notices had been served he was very happy for the organisation to sit down and discuss options with tenants.

"We couldn't do that until the advice was given,'' Mr Bunney said.

Walter Wallace, 83, is a 16-year resident of the caravan park and lives in a 30-foot caravan, with a hardstand, Gyprock-lined annexe.

"Where am I to go?'' he asked. "What am I going to do? I'm not a boy any more.''

The former mechanic said shifting his life would be problematic. The caravan is not registered, will require new tyres for its tandem axles and probably new bearings.

Life's tough enough already for the pensioner who has survived two heart attacks.

He pays $120-130 a week rent from a fortnightly pension of $880 a fortnight.

Mr Bunney said the notice given was what was required under legislation.

"Two months is in keeping with that,'' he said.

"We are happy to talk to the people and more than happy to have them as tenants of the cabins."

The one-bedroom cabins come with a kitchenette which contains a fridge, a convection oven and hotplate and rent for around $190 a week.

The Woombye park has 20 visitor sites, 57 permanent sites and 30 cabins available for permanent or holiday letting.

Mr Bunney said Sundale had secured full freehold title to the caravan park, subject to covenants, earlier this year.

The covenants require the site continue to operate as a caravan/mobile home park and to improve the level of affordable accommodation.

A spokesperson for Housing and Public Works Minister Mick de Brenni said departmental staff would work with those affected to make sure secure accommodation was available.

He said the situation appeared to be another example of privatisation failing vulnerable people after an LNP Government sold the park in 2014.

Topics:  editors picks eviction general-seniors-news glenn bunney lnp pensioners peter wellington sundale


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

RSL club's new look already shaping up

Tewantin Noosa RSL's new "Junior Barracks" kids' play room with interactive games floor

Interactive play area first on Coast

Love begins on a migrant ship for Noosa couple

MEANT TO BE: Helmuth Maciejczyk and Gertrud Neumahr, now Mr and Mrs Macey, celebrate 50 years together since arriving in Australia as German immigrants.

German migrants celebrate 50 years since arriving in Australia

Students learn there's more to a career in the force

ON THE BEAT: Students tried a police career on for size when Pomona Sergeant Dan McNamara visited Noosa District State High School.

Pomona officer serves the harsh realities of a career in the police

Local Partners

Walking to a cure for Dravet Syndrome

A loving mother has organised a fundraiser walk for a very rare and unknown disease that her daughter suffers from.

Jemma's bewitching voice

STAGE PRESENCE: Suzie Mathers and Jemma Rix in a scene from Wicked The Musical.

Wicked musical theatre star Jemma Rix has released her debut album.

This laughter yoga video will have you in fits of giggles

BEST MEDICINE: Karen Flannery is spreading happiness through laughter throughout Hervey Bay.

New members needed for a laughing good time

Dancers show off skills at Toowoomba Eisteddfod

Milla Rowbotham and Rebecca Gill from All Star Dance Academy .Toowoomba Eisteddfod, Empire Theatre. August 2017

Poems and dances dominated the 72nd City of Toowoomba Eisteddfod

What's on the small screen this week

JESSICA Marais returns in The Wrong Girl and The Block's kids bedrooms are sure to inspire.

Playing Tom Cruise's wife was a dream for Sarah Wright

Tom Cruise and Sarah Wright in American Made.

The actress stars opposite Cruise in the action comedy

Taylor Swift wipes presence off social media

Singer Taylor Swift has deleted her social media accounts

Social media wipeout prompts rumours of a new album

Swedish TV drama turns up heat

Louise Nyvall stars in the Swedish TV series Farang.

Scandinavian crime thriller goes troppo

Aboriginal artists' call to action

Anwar Young, winner of this year's overall prize and last year's young artist prize.

Important messages of survival and healing

Radio host Matt Okine leaps to small screen

Valene Kane, Matt Okine and Harriet Dyer star in the TV series The Other Guy.

First foray into acting a long time in the making

Hollywood’s new highest paid actress

Jennifer Lawrence had to settle for third this year behind Emma Stone and Jennifer Aniston.

CAN you guess who has dethroned Jennifer Lawrence?

EXPLAINED: What the 'Costco effect' means for Ipswich

PRICE WARS: A Costco store similar to this one in Canberra, is planned for Ipswich.

Exclusive 'cult' about to change how families do grocery shopping

4800 homes to be built in massive new Coast estate

Masterplanned community full steam ahead - it's not Caloundra South

Open for inspection homes August 17 - 23

Check out this weekend's homes open for inspection.

Airbnb, Stayz and co tipped to squeeze Coast housing market

HOLIDAY BOOM: Airbnb letting is putting a further squeeze on long-term rentals.

Councils exploring options to manage the industry

How we got a rental straight away on the Coast

Rita and David Allara, moved down from Townsville, paid three months up front rent to secure the place at flash new unit block in Kings Beach.

Genius move helps secure rental property

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!