Council refuses van shift

SEVENTY-one-year-old Patricia Reese desperately wants to move out of the notorious Tweed Waters Caravan Park at Banora Point and has found a site for her van at a park in Chinderah.

But she has been blocked from moving by Tweed Shire Council which earlier this year promised to help residents who have been told the park will close.

Tweed mayor Warren Polglase, a former caravan park owner, says the council can't bend new rules which ban large vans from flood-prone areas _ even for compassionate reasons.

Councillors earlier this year asked staff to prepare a report on how to help residents of the trouble-plagued park to move out but were told very few available sites met council regulations.

Police regard the park as a trouble spot and a number of mobile homes have mysteriously burnt down.

Mrs Reese said it appeared the council bureaucracy would not help.

"I met with four of the council's top officials, but they sat there like big fat cats and all they we're saying is 'no, no, no'," said a distraught Mrs Reese.

Despite finding a site for her van in the Heritage Caravan Park at Chinder- ah, Mrs Reese has been told her nearly three-metre-wide (nine foot) van will not be allowed to be shifted.

Mrs Reese said she had an opportunity to move to a park in the Sunshine Coast hinterland north of Brisbane but she had medical problems and family and friends in the Tweed.

"I just want to be with my family and friends and don't want to go too far away," she said.

"The council wants to me to just walk away from my van or take it and get out of town.

"But either my van goes with me or I go out in a box and the box is looking better all the time.

"I'm living in sheer hell and if the council keeps blocking me I'm in for another miserable Christmas."

Cr Polglase said her van was classed as an unregistrable mobile dwelling and council rules banned those from floodprone caravan parks, even though many such as Mrs Reese's van were placed in some parks before the rules came into force.

"It's very sad circumstances," he added, "But we have rules we have to comply with and we can't bend them."

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