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Byron Shire
March 7, 2021

Park resident’s web of deceit

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Sean O’Meara, Terrace Residents Group

Geoff Suthon’s and Gary Morganson’s accusations of ‘fictitious claims’ made by myself against their illegal occupation of a public riverbank and the ongoing environmental damage being caused in the Terrace Reserve in Brunswick Heads is fanciful.

Every time myself or others bring attention to this occupation and clearly point out the fact portable homes and caravans have been placed on a riverbank outside the boundaries of the caravan park and are blocking a whole town from accessing beautiful riverside walkways, swimming spots and land that is rightfully ours to use (and did so for the majority of the last 100 years), they simply deny it.

The fact that these structures are portable and can easily be moved to legal vacant sites only 10m away is another fact these gentlemen don’t like as they are obviously very attached to their million dollar views with their own private river access.

Mr Suthon and Mr Morganson continue to dish up dubious counterclaims yet never demand (as I always do) that a reputable authority be called in to investigate and act.

Council has already proven gross encroachments onto the riverbank (and over 100 other areas of non-compliance) after a $15,000 audit of the parks last year, so let’s now act and keep the ball rolling.

We now need the EPA, the Cape Byron Marine Park, NSW Fisheries and a few independent environmental scientists to assess the reserve, riverbank and mangroves and report on the obvious detrimental effects taking place.

This is part of these organisations’ day-to-day work so they should be happy to oblige for free.

In the meantime, as I don’t particularly like being labelled a liar by these gentlemen, I will post a quick online blog with photos for all to see that totally dispute Mr Suthon’s and Mr Morganson’s claims and clearly expose the ongoing damage that is taking place in the Terrace Reserve under the non-compliant management of North Coast Holiday Parks.

Everyone will be able to view the photos and decide for themselves who is really telling the truth.

Mr Suthon and Mr Morganson will agree that all this trouble started once North Coast Holiday Parks took control of the caravan park from Byron Shire Council.

Everyone acknowledged these encroachments but also the fact there were some elderly residents it was inappropriate to relocate.

So, over the last 20 years these offending structures were moved off the public riverbank once these people vacated.

NCHP has no intention of obeying the law and moving these illegal structures and has in fact taken over vacated structures and is (illegally in my opinion) renting them as holiday cabins.

NCHP is trying to use these remaining offending structures as a precedent to say they have every right to monopolise and build out the entire Terrace Reserve riverbank with luxury cabins with their own private river beaches and boat harbours.

Mr Suthon and Mr Morganson love peddling stories about how they are such victims and anybody like myself trying to stop the privatisation of our best public foreshore land is forcing destitute and elderly cancer victims out of their homes.

I would be the last to try and move such people unless close and better accommodation was provided.

However, I fail to see why a guy who uses his van once a month would be such a protected species.

What if he had also built stairs all the way down to the river and cut a neat path through the mangroves, or if two doors up another Queensland weekender had installed his own private slipway?

These examples, that seem to be obvious encroachments, should be investigated.

If Mr Suthon and Mr Morganson are delusional enough to think that by championing the actions of NCHP they will be ‘looked after’, I advise they to do a quick Google search on ‘Jim Bolger North Coast Holiday Parks’.

Read the many articles about NCHP conflicts with local communities up and down the coast, particularly those in relation to their agenda of getting rid of long term ‘low paying’ occupants (like yourselves) in favour of ‘cashed up’ short-term tourists.

The Seal Rocks mass eviction is a good one to start with. Despite a huge community backlash against NCHP (including 12,000 Facebook complaints) there is now only one long-term site left in this entire park.

There is a clever yet easy solution to this problem where if they are smart, Mr Suthon and Mr Morganson can help secure all the futures of the long-term residents, keep the caravan park a place that is liveable for residents (not a ‘weekend fun park’ as planned by NCHP) and return the Terrace Reserve to its intended and zoned use where local families, park residents and limited tourists all happily shared this beautiful public parkland and river.

 


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1 COMMENT

  1. Well written Sean, I hope you are being listened to. I remember a time when I could walk along the river by the Terrace Park. Not any more due to the encroachment of what are clearly illegal structures. This is public land, crown land, reserved for the people and should be returned to us.
    The bleating of these ‘gentlemen’ is nonsense

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