Van park rules ?have been bent

By PETER CATON

TWEED Shire councillors have been accused of throwing compassion "out the door" by banning a 71-year-old pensioner from moving her caravan from a troubleplagued Banora Point vanpark to Chinderah.

Chinderah van park owner Bob Caine says despite claims the council can't "bend the rules" it did so just eight months ago.

Patricia Reese has been told her nine-foot-wide caravan is too large to be moved out of the notorious Tweed Waters Caravan Park to a site she has found in the Heritage Park at Chinderah.

Mayor Warren Polglase said earlier this week council rules would not allow the van, which is classified as an unregistrable moveable dwelling (UMD) into parks which were flood-prone and the rules could not be bent.

But Mr Caine, who runs the Royal Pacific Park at Chinderah, said a decision by the previous council just prior to the March council elections which allowed a couple whose home in "high hazard flood prone" Drifters Van Village at Chinderah burnt down to replace it with a mobile home, also a UMD, from Tweed Waters Caravan Park.

Mr Caine said the compassion and assistance shown just prior to the election was a good thing and proved the council had "the power to help people regardless of the so-called rules".

He said Mrs Reese's van was classified as a UMD because it was just six inches wider than the eight foot-six-inch maximum width of registrable vans.

"Six inches is the difference," he said. "Council's compassion is being thrown out the door over six inches. How fair dinkum are they?"

Mr Caine also pointed out the council's own vanparks had UMDs in the form of cabins and villas which were being upgraded.

Council environment and health services manager Geoff Edwards however defended the council rules.

"If you try to help people in Banora Point, move them into a flood-prone park and next February there is a large flood and they lose everything they would be right to ask why council let them move there," he said.

"The person could be a lot worse off. In South Murwillumbah we have actually bought people out who had houses on floodprone land. To allow people to go back onto flood-prone land is certainly not good planning."

Only two months ago councillors were expressing sympathy with residents of the Tweed Waters Caravan Park who are trying to get out.

Cr Max Boyd suggested the Council expand its Pottsville North Caravan Park to accommodate them while Cr John Murray said he would "love this council to try to help these people".



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