KALI Smith and Mark Pelka, with their daughter Natasha, sit on the land where they had hoped to build a home for their family.
KALI Smith and Mark Pelka, with their daughter Natasha, sit on the land where they had hoped to build a home for their family.

Fortunes shift at The Sands



KALI Smith and Mark Pelka thought they had everything worked out when Kali found out she was pregnant.

They decided to leave Melbourne's Mornington Peninsula to be closer to Kali's parents who moved to the Tweed Coast in 1998.

The first step they took was to put a deposit down on a block of land at The Sands for $225,000.

"That was before Natasha was born," Kali said yesterday.

Now Mark has a good job as a bricklayer and they have been renting in Cabarita.

"We were glad there was going to be about 18 months before we could build because I could get a good job and we coudl settle in," Mark said.

Their plans are now uncertain because developers Consolidated Properties have decided to call in sunset clauses on 133 lots.

Kali and Mark were at Casuarina yesterday to meet other people affected by the decision.

About 40 people turned up with banners and comments for the waiting media from Channel 9, Channel 7, NBN and Brisbane's Courier Mail.

All are outraged about the way they have been treated by Consolidated Properties and some are considering legal action.

One of the group's organisers, Kylie Wilmen, said her family had received mail from the company for the first six months but never heard anything more about their land until the letter arrived saying everything was off.

She had also been told by her solicitor that it was very unusual for a development to be halted after almost three years.

Todd Armstrong attended the ral- ly on behalf of his father, Noel, who is waiting on one of the blocks.

Todd cannot understand why the developers have pulled out now as his block of land at Casuarina took just as long but continued.

"We have just moved in after four years," he said.

The managing directore of Consolidated Properties, Don O'Rorke, issued a statement on Friday saying his company had been forced into the situation because of the "inordinate time" taken to get a development application.

"We have already had a number of purchasers walk away from their deals," he said.

"In that environment and with present market conditions in NSW we simply cannot afford to sit back and assume the ongoing saleability of this land while waiting indefinitely for the DA."



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