Terranora tenants fear for safety

TENANTS of a Terranora resort are fearful for their safety after an access road to their homes was barricaded last week, blocking access to emergency vehicles.

In what has been described as a "Grinchly act" done only weeks before Christmas, Brisbane-based developers Godfrey Mantle Group have concreted wooden poles across two access roads to the Howard Group's Royal Terranora Resort, which is home to more than 80 tenants.

The road closure is also blocking access to the Terranora Tennis Club courts and clubhouse and tenant car parks.

"How are emergency services going to get to us if something goes wrong?" asked 18-weeks pregnant Deanna Hellmuth.

"It's a frightening thought that if something goes wrong during my pregnancy an ambulance would find it difficult to get to my home.

"They would have to push a guerney down and up a very steep hill to get me out of here."

Another resident, double heart-by-pass patient Rob Brownleg is fearful for his continuing health if ambulances cannot get easy access to his unit.

"My doctors have told me that I am dying, and I'll go a lot quicker if they can't get an ambulance to me," the 70-year-old said.

"I moved here so I could get a ground-floor unit so I didn't have to wear myself out walking up stairs or hills, but now the lower car park is closed I have to walk up the hill, which takes me about 20 minutes." Access to the resort, which is next to the derelict Terranora Lakes Country Club and across land owned by the Mantle Group, has been a sticking point between the neighbouring developers for some time, and negotiations over access came to an uprupt end when the road block was erected, with only 48 hours notice, on December 2.

The blockade means the tenants can only park their cars in an area out front of the country club, which has smashed-in windows and is a regular site for anti-social behavior. One resident said four cars had been broken into while parked there in the past month.

"We don't want to see our tenants turned out at Christmas, and if we are able to continue providing accommodation for people, without access to the car park, then we will," said Aaron Thompson, project manager for leasing agents, the Howard Group. "But if we can't resolve the issue, then maybe the resort will be untenantable.

"What is in dispute is access across about 300 square metres of land that was sold by Tweed Shire Council to the Mantle Group a few years ago.

"We have been in contact with the Mantle Group for a number of months to arrange an agreement about access over the small section of the land owned by them, to the lower car parks at the resort.

"It seems like a Grinchly act to close down access and the lower car parks to the tenants this close to Christmas, and we are at a loss to understand why they have done this, considering we were still in negotiation over the matter."

The Howard Group has been leasing the former timeshare% resort on a short-term basis at affordable rates since November and have offered to take over the maintenance as well as insurance costs for the section of land from the Mantle Group, Mr Thompson said.

"We can't afford to pay for use of the road, and while they (the Mantle Group) have offered us to purchase three square metres of land to build a new entrance, it would mean that we would need to remove the resort pool, and it wouldn't give us access to the%lower car park," he said.

The Tweed Daily News contacted the Mantle Group several times last week, but a spokesperson refused to answer any questions or make comment.

Howard Group directors met last week with officers from the Tweed Shire Council to ask for%assistance to resolve the matter.

"Part of the access to the resort also crosses land that is held in trust by council, and we have approached them to see if we can lease, buy or get easement to the area, and council said No," Mr Thompson said.

"Which is why we have sought legal advice and are seeking the right to a statutory easement from council to the area."

A spokesperson for Tweed Shire Council said the issue was a matter to be resolved between the two developers.

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