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Ex CEO of community housing organisation on Narrabundah caravan park

By Kerces - 16 May 2006 21

My attention has been brought to this letter to the editor in today’s CT by Vicki Dunne.

It is written by former CEO of Community Housing Canberra Bruce McKenzie and Mrs Dunne says, “I thought This letter to the Times today was most interesting. Bruce is pretty straight and is an interesting twist to things.”

Cheap housing void

In mid-2000 the Narrabundah long stay caravan park was offered to Community Housing Canberra Ltd, a not-for-profit affordable housing provider.

Without any reason, the offer was withdrawn and the land quickly sold to Koomarri for $1. Koomarri has subsequently decided that running an affordable housing option is no longer one of their core businesses.

That’s fine, but given they only paid $1 for the site, they should have transferred the caravan park to an organisation whose core business is providing affordable housing, not sold it to the highest bidder.

The Canberra community has, twice, generously donated its time and money to build Koomarri a new headquarters.

Koomarri has let down those who have been its long-time supporters.

Its own actions, not those of the developer who bought the land, are responsible for this reduction in affordable housing. Koomarri has trashed its own reputation.

It now has only one option – give its 30 pieces of silver to an affordable housing provider to ensure that as much affordable housing as we can get remains in Canberra.

Bruce McKenzie, former chief

executive officer, Community

Housing Canberra, Giralang

What’s Your opinion?

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21 Responses to
Ex CEO of community housing organisation on Narrabundah caravan park
erewego 12:16 pm 17 May 06


sonme background. Apparently the Liberal gubmnt gave it away for a dollar because it was bringing in 100K / year, and it isnt Community Housing’s role to be banking cheques

RandomGit 10:51 am 17 May 06

Whoa there, ACT Government? WTF? All they should do is fast track the residents into good housing.

The pidgeon is flown. Damage control I can deal with, but TARDIS actions from the govmint stinks worse than their complete lack of concern in the first place.

Roland GRNS 10:32 am 17 May 06

As you may be aware the residents view, which we share, and Bishop Pat Power (see CTimes today) is that Koomarri and Zivko ought to back out now, and my thought is that the ACT Government should refund them all out of pocket expenses.

Les Whinin 10:02 am 17 May 06

It would appear that the Libs, Corbell, Koomari, and the new site owners are all looking for bigger shovels to dig their way out of this one – or maybe just bury it.

As I see it the only equitable thing to do would be to offer a similar sized site elsewhere to CHC and move the residents there.

Chris S 9:06 am 17 May 06

Don’t forget Josip Zivko of Consolidated Builders – he’s in it up to it grubby developer’s neck as well. This bloke was not only on the Housing Committee, but was the development industry’s representative on the Heritage Council. He is on the MBA executive, HIA etc, as Deb Foskey has pointed out.

His bleatings now, claiming to have been misled, look pretty hollow when you have a look at his background. As a professional developer, well esconced in his grubby industry, how could he not know the status of the caravan park residents? Surely he at least had a look at the site, noted the semi-permanent nature of many of the structures, realised that the gardens, community areas etc represented a long-term commitment by many residents, yet he says he didn;t know.

The CT reported him as saying: “We are a reputable Canberra company with strong links to the community and our reputation is important to us. I do not like to see families treated unfairly and we will do what we can to help.”

What utter bullshit!

Thumper 8:36 am 17 May 06

I reckon the car park outside the assembly building is looking pretty good….

Pandy 7:23 am 17 May 06

Hume, in the broadacre estate would be an ideal site for a not-for-profit but a co-operative run long stay trailer park. The Government has to bite the bullet on this and release the land from the money they should not be giving to Koomarri ($2M windfall). The Consolidated Builders do not have blood on their hands.

Other places where the trailer park could be built is on the former forestry site in Duffy, or near the Epicentre site in Fyshwick.

Big Al 7:14 am 17 May 06

The CT is reporting this morning that Koomari new full well what the new owner was intending – The new owners are even suggesting that their solicitors asked Koomarri during the sale negotiations to advise tennants that they would be out on their ear once the sale was concluded so as not to raise any unnecessary hopes amongst the tennants.

What gets me is – what part of the name “Consolidated Builders Limited” did Koomarri not understand?

johnboy 11:31 pm 16 May 06

It would be very easy for Simon, after the site has been cleared out by the police, to say “well with everyone booted out what’s the point” and agree to change the land use.

seepi 9:41 pm 16 May 06

Simon corbell looks bad too. The greens brought this up with him months ago, when he could have used his powers to ensure the land purpose was very tightly described as a caravan park. Instead he did nothing, and is now talking about using his powers to stand in the way of the new owners, who paid a high purchase price, expecting to get value out of the site.

Vic Bitterman 9:07 pm 16 May 06

If this is true, then koomarri sucks balls big time.

Thumper 7:10 pm 16 May 06

(d) All of the above.

Nik_the_Pig 7:04 pm 16 May 06

Seems to me the Libs did something stupid but in good faith. Koomarri has done totally within their right and legal but immoral and makes them look like evil bastards.

areaman 6:01 pm 16 May 06

I don’t think anyone comes out of this fiasco looking good but Koomarri comes out the worst, the the Libs a somewhat distant second.

Big Al 5:23 pm 16 May 06

I think he has a point.

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