By PETER CATON
NINETEEN mostly elderly residents of the notorious Banora Point caravan park have been left wondering where they will live following moves to close the park.
Tweed Shire Council officers yesterday told council administrators the park, regarded by police as a crime hotspot, should be closed immediately.
They warned that should happen "before someone is either severely injured or killed as a result of the violent behaviour occurring within the park".
The elderly long-term residents, along with dozens of short-term tenants who have been unable to find anywhere else to live on the Tweed, could be forced to move.
But council administrators have promised to find them new homes.
The recommendation follows a six-year battle involving park residents, the council, the company that owns the park and its director Warren Tschannen.
Mr Tschannen yesterday took a swipe at the former council which was sacked by the NSW Government earlier this year.
He said the council, which repeatedly refused to allow permanent residents to relocate to other parks that are also flood prone, had been uncooperative in helping the residents to move.
"There have been other motives for being uncooperative," he said. "A number of councillors wanted to buy the park for next to nothing. These are pretty serious allegations but that's the way it was."
Mr Tschannen said he made council lawyers aware of his allegations but was told to take the matter to the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption.
He said he did not do that because he simply wanted to get on with business, had applied to close the park himself and had already agreed to pay the removal expenses of permanent residents.
The two solicitors handling the park issue for the council were unavailable yesterday.
Last night council administrator Max Boyd said irrespective of any possible private attempts by councillors to buy the park, the council's policy for many years had been against relocating residents into flood prone areas.
In a report to the administrators, the council's Environment and Community Services director Don Buckley said on top of dangers to residents "council's inspection staff have advised they consider it is an unsafe environment for them to enter the park to conduct further inspections".
Len Hogg, who is among the 19 remaining permanent resi dents, is furious it has taken the council so long to act.
Outside council chambers in Murwillumbah yesterday he said the residents now had no idea where they might go and had been "traumatised for a long time".
"This document (the report on park conditions) is absolute dynamite. But the council is throwing their hands up and saying we can't do anything," he said.
Mr Buckley told the administrators: "An appropriate result in resolving the issues associated with the conduct by the owner of the park and the management would be for council to pursue legal action to close the park and relocate, at the cost of the park owner, the remaining long-term residents".
Council administrators received his report but chief administrator Garry Payne later said new homes first had to be found for the residents.
Mr Payne said he was holding talks with state government officials about housing them in council caravan parks on crown land.
"I just don't want to see elderly people, some of them quite ill, I'm told, with nowhere to go," he said.