Long-term residents of Woronora caravan park present 'evidence' of moves to force them out

Long-term residents of Woronora caravan park say termination notices they received last year are concrete evidence the operator wants them out.

“How can anyone say otherwise?” asked Millie Bellamy, who with her husband Max, has lived in the park for 32 years.

The long-term residents, most of whom are pensioners, own 10 vans and a cabin, but lease their sites in the park.

Ms Bellamy represents the group in the Affiliated Residential Park Residents Association (ARPRA).

The operator of Woronora Village Tourist Park, Christian Martin, told the Leader earlier this month he was not “trying to kick anyone out”.

Mr Martin said the facility, which was purchased in 2016 for $6.75 million, needed to be modernised because it did not comply with council regulations and was “a bit of an eyesore”.

Sutherland Shire Council confirmed it had “identified matters of non-compliance and is working with the owner to rectify these”.

Millie and Max Bellamy and other long-term residents said the first attempt to get them to leave was made about two weeks after the park changed hands in 2016 when they were offered “insulting” sums of between $2000 and $5000 by the new owner to vacate their sites.

In 2017, they were issued with notices to make their sites compliant and, when they took no action, they were issued termination notices.

Matters of non-compliance included vans and attachments being too close to side boundaries or not being wholly within an allocated site.

The residents took the matters to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT), which decided in their favour in five cases because approval had been given by previous owners of the park.

Resident Allan Graham said the residents were in a “Catch-22” situation.

Mr Graham said. if they made changes to meet the new present demands, their homes would become non-compliant with more recent regulations.

The residents are irate about the treatment of one of their group, Vietnam veteran Ken Blakely, who uses a wheelchair.

They said Meals on Wheels and a supermarket home delivery service were no longer allowed to drive past the boom gate to Mr Blakely’s van.

The residents said the operator was “making life difficult” for them in the hope they would leave.

They said they were prepared to give up their sites and leave the park, but only for a fair price.

The residents claimed the park owner planned to develop the site into an estate called Water’s Edge, with two storey cabins which would be sold, not leased.

Park operator Christian Martin declined to make further comment.

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