It was an end of an era for caravan owner Kelly McKelvey, as her storage van left Brunswick Heads last week after North Coast Holiday Parks evicted the last onsite caravans owned by the public.
She told The Echo, ‘We will miss the community, but have such fabulous memories. Thanks to The Echo for always supporting our stories and for publishing our content.’
Further north, van owners in Fingal Holiday Park claim a third of the park’s caravan leaseholders are under threat of permanent eviction, with the first five van owners being told to vacate their sites before Easter.
Fingal van owner Robyn Holland says another 17 van owners have just received letters from the Tweed Coast Holiday Parks Trust, ‘informing them they are not permitted to sell their caravans due to future redevelopment plans.’
One of those evicted, Suzette Collins, said she was devastated by the news.
‘We have been enjoying family holidays here together for 10 years,’ she said.
‘What the Trust doesn’t appreciate is our ongoing loyalty to the park and the fact that we are actually paying customers. Together, the long-term Fingal casuals contribute around $400,000 annually. It might get busy at Christmas and Easter, but in the quieter months, many of the tourist sites sit empty, which means they’re relying on this bread-and-butter income.
‘Many van owners have recently spent thousands of dollars renovating their caravans and annexes, and are angry that the Trust has officially approved these improvements, knowing the future plans for redevelopment.’
Ms Holland said the gradual removal of the long-term casuals would destroy the unique sense of community in the Fingal Holiday Park.
‘Some of these families have been spending every weekend here for the past 30 years – they truly care for the beach, they support the local surf club and they make a regular, significant contribution to the local economy,’ she said.
‘It’s the same situation at Kingscliff South Holiday Park, where every long-term van owner has been instructed to vacate to make way for the new foreshore park.
‘We understand the Trust’s business needs to make an income but we believe there can be a successful balance, where the holiday park is available to both the loyal long-term van owners as well as tourists.
‘In the end, if you evict all of us, it’s like tearing up a familiar neighbourhood and creating an artificial tourist town where nobody cares for the community.’