Thirty-three long-term holidaymakers have received eviction notices from the management of three Brunswick Heads holiday parks: Massey Greene, The Terrace and Ferry Reserve.
The three parks are managed by the NSW Crown Holiday Parks Trust (NCHPT), which recently had a controversial new management plan approved by lands minister Kevin Humphries.
According to the plan, all long-term, so-called ‘storage’ vans are to make way for new infrastructure and upgraded sites.
Owners have been told their vans must be removed from the site by September 2 or they will be demolished.
Echonetdaily understands that no eviction notices have been handed to a number of residents residing adjacent to the Brunswick River boundary, despite the fact that a condition of the park’s current licence requires that ‘the boundary of the 30 dwelling sites (identified as sites numbered 100 to 129 inclusive) located on the northern side of the park [is] to be set back a distance of not less than three metres from the top of the Brunswick River bank.’
Licence to operate expired
But a group of the ‘storage’ van owners are digging their heels in, saying the NCHPT is in breach of those Byron Shire Council licence conditions and that, in any case, the council’s licences for at least two of the parks have lapsed.
Van owner Kelly McKelvey, who has a van at Massey Greene, has lodged a complaint with the Department of Fair Trading on behalf of the 11 owners who have been evicted from that park.
She argues that because the council-issued licences for the operation of at least two of the parks have expired the eviction notices are null and void.
‘According to the Holidays Park (Long Term Casual Occupation ) Act 2002 we are defined as “long term casual occupants” and all have an occupation agreement in place whereby we pay a monthly occupation fee to the management to continue our right to occupy a site and house our moveable dwelling on the site,’ she said in a statement to the department
‘My interpretation of the … legislation [is that it] requires that the park owner or park manager has the [delegated power] to issue the Notice of Termination.
‘At the time of issuing the notice of termination, being 28 May 2015, the NSW Crown Holiday Parks Trust was not the park owner or the park manager because their Licence to Operate the Park under section 69 of the LGA had expired.
‘Their licence to operate expired on 8 May 2015. Furthermore the Licence to Operate the Ferry Reserve Caravan Park expired years earlier. I suspect operating a caravan park without a licence is a matter for the Investigators of your department,’ Ms McKelvey wrote.
In a letter to the editor published in Echonetdaily today, Col & Carmel McAndrew of Massey Greene, described the plans as ‘ambiguous’.
‘ They state whenever a holiday van site is vacated or relinquished in the future, that site will be made available for tourist use,’ the couple said.
‘It appears these plans deem long term holiday van owners and their families as not valuable repeat holiday visitors and are not included in future tourism and management plans for the area.’
The couple added they had ‘attempted to contact Steve Edmonds, the CEO of NSW Crown Holiday Parks Trust, at his office in Newcastle for comment. However at this stage there has been no reply’.
Greens MLC Jan Barham recently called on parliament to revoke the new plans of management, saying they may contain ‘misleading information about the boundaries’ and that the plans risked ‘the natural, European and cultural heritage of the area as well as the provision of affordable housing.’