Residents left 'gutted' over council's caravan park decision

PARK WOES: Toorbul Caravan Park residents Merv Pocock and Mark Ashley won't give up without a fight.
PARK WOES: Toorbul Caravan Park residents Merv Pocock and Mark Ashley won't give up without a fight. Vicki Wood

MORETON Bay Regional Council voted in favour of tourism over residents, agreeing to a proposal to make changes to the transfer of tenancies across the council's caravan parks.

The proposal came after inconsistencies in management practices with regard to long-term and semi-permanent tenants.

Transfer of long-term tenancies at Donnybrook and Toorbul were generally approved while Scarborough and Clontarf were not.

Division 1 councillor Brooke Savige was the only councillor to oppose the decision, voting in support of residents.

"I'm disappointed ... it wasn't the decision we'd hoped for,” she said.

"I stand by the way I voted and I stand by the residents - they have a particular view and my role is to be their advocate where I feel like it's the right path.”

The proposal states that long-stay and semi- permanent tenants cannot transfer their tenancies and if they leave the park for any reason, their site will revert to a tourist site.

"Toorbul and Donnybrook are by the sea and they're beautiful locations and that's a draw card for people - what it's lacking is there aren't huge amounts of tourist infrastructure,” Cr Savige said.

"If there was to be a significant increase in tourism out there that would have to coincide with an increase in spending in terms of infrastructure.”

Permanent resident of 11 years and Toorbul Progress Association president Merv Pocock said the residents were "gutted”.

"We're very disappointed - we want to have a meeting with the mayor and the CEO to discuss it further,” he said.

"We can't fall in line with other caravan parks that have sewerage and all that - the council is going to have to be prepared to spend millions of dollars to put infrastructure through.

"It's only 16 months ago they gave permission for everyone to build hard annexes and now they turn around and hit us in the gut with this decision.”

Division 3 councillor Adam Hain doesn't agree Toorbul isn't a tourist destination.

"We could do better at promoting it and delivering better infrastructure, that should be the focus.

"To say we won't supply affordable accommodation for the residents is wrong - we could find them somewhere that isn't a possible tourism destination.”

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