Banora Point closure puts park dwellers at risk

MORE than 3500 Tweed residents who live in caravan parks have been put on notice that any of them could be next to be pushed out of their homes.

Former Tweed Shire councillor Dot Holdom, who is seeking re-election at the September council poll, yesterday warned the closure of the Banora Point Caravan Park proved that no park dweller in NSW was safe.

She said no legislation could protect park residents from developers if they were determined to redevelop caravan park sites, many of which are in prime coastal or waterfront positions.

"If somebody has a mindset all of the legislation in the world won't shift it," she said.

"There are many ways to run a caravan park into the ground".

Her warning comes after the last resident in the Banora Point park agreed on Friday to move out.

Under the deal, developer Bob Morrison will allow George Cilia, who had been at the park since 2004, to live in his van on the site of the former Poppa Bill's service station and motel nearby for 12 months.

Mr Morrison hopes to begin clearing the old van park in preparation for construction of a new resort on Wednesday.

However that plan may yet be delayed after Ms Holdom lodged a formal objection with Tweed Shire Council general manager Michael Rayner late on Friday because she said the Poppa Bill's site is not zoned for that use.

Instead she has argued Mr Cilia ought to be allowed to stay in a unit at the former motel which Mr Morrison's company Lifestyle Resorts owns.

Ms Holdom said she was afraid the demise and final closure of the Banora Caravan Park -- which was slowly allowed to run down by its former owner Warren Tschannen -- set a precedent for redevelopment of parks.

She said she was sure other park owners were watching the re-development closely.

"There are 900 caravan parks in the state, quite a few of them on prime coastal land," she said.

"In the Tweed three-and-a-half thousand plus people live in caravan parks. Are people more important than the possible big profits to someone who wants to redevelop?"

Ms Holdom said the caravan parks had traditionally offered affordable housing to many people who could not pay more than $250,000 or higher for a house.

They had been attractive to many people because of the sense of community they offered.

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