Nev weighs in on van park row

THE suffering of 71-year-old Tweed pensioner Patricia Rees blocked from moving her caravan to a safer van park site she has found has sparked new criticism of Tweed Shire Council.

State Labor MP for Tweed yesterday blasted the Council over its policy which has stopped Mrs Rees from moving out of a notorious Banora Point Caravan Park into a park at nearby Chinderah.

He also accused the Council of "sitting on their hands" by letting conditions in the Banora Point park deteriorate.

Mr Newell said the Council even refused to address his concerns about the Tweed Waters Caravan Park (formerly Banora Point Caravan Park) when he wrote to the Council in September. He was told because the park was "subject to ongoing proceedings" the Council was "unable to address" his query.

Mr Newell said when the NSW Government's Department of Fair Trading had taken the park owner and his company to the Supreme Court over breaches of the Residential Parks Act the Council "failed to assist".

"They chose to watch the case from the sidelines effectively leaving the Banora Park residents to their fate," he said.

Mr Newell attacked Council arguments that it could not give Mrs Rees permission to move from the flood-prone park to one equally as floodprone but without the same problems because of State Government flood legislation.

He said the Floodplain Management Manual 2001 quoted by Tweed Shire Council was "actually a guideline" not a law. Council general manager Dr John Griffin was unavailable. A Council spokesperson said the Council would not be responding.

A spokesperson for the NSW Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources said the floodplain manual was a set of guidelines allowing Councils "a bit of leeway" should "a special situation arise".

She said the guidelines should be adhered to as closely as possible but were "not letter of the law".

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