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Taskforce to fix longstay caravan park problem

By Kerces - 17 May 2006 37

This release just in from the Chief Minister’s Office (quoted in full below): Jon Stanhope has put together a cross-agency taskforce to find a solution to the problems now faced by the residetns of the Narrabundah longstay caravan park.

The taskforce is to report back within a week.

Mr Stanhope said it was little use now dwelling on the sale since it is irreversible, and a plan needs to be made “that would give security and comfort to the park’s tenants”.

The taskforce will be made up of the CEOs of Housing ACT, the Department of Territories and Municipal Services and ACT Planning and Land Authority, and possibly some others.

UPDATE: Deb Foskey has accused the Liberals of “sucking up to the business community”


Chief Minister Jon Stanhope has convened a high-level taskforce to come up with an urgent resolution to issues confronting residents of the recently-sold long-stay caravan park at Narrabundah.

Mr Stanhope said the issue deserved a whole-of-government response and he had instructed the chief executive of the Chief Minister’s Department, Mike Harris, to chair a cross-agency taskforce, which had been asked to report back with options for resolving the concerns of park tenants within a week. The taskforce will involve the CEOs of Housing ACT, the Department of Territories and Municipal Services and ACT Planning and Land Authority.

The Chief Minister said that while much community anger was still understandably focused on the sale of the park by Koomarri to a private developer, there was probably little to be gained in the short term by an autopsy of the sale, which seemed to be irreversible. What was crucial now was to come up with a plan that would give security and comfort to the park’s tenants.

“While individuals have a range of reasons for making their home in long-stay caravan parks I think it is indisputable that some residents of these parks are among the least financially secure members of our community, with the least capacity to pull up stumps on demand,” Mr Stanhope said.

“This is a complicated issue, and will require a creative solution. I have convened a taskforce that will bring together a number of officials from across the ACT Government to come up with possible solutions as a matter of the most extreme urgency.”

Statement Ends

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37 Responses to
Taskforce to fix longstay caravan park problem
dusty 12:36 pm 18 May 06

Dear Thumper and shauno, sorry to disappoint you both but I must point out to you that what you have stated is incorrect. The 2 Allhomes listings you have linked to are not in the Longstay Caravan Park at all, but in the privately run Sundown Van Park, which is next door. The Sundown used to be the drive-in. Sundown is a completely different caravan park, and is well-kept and privately run.
Narrabundah Longstay is next door, a little further up Narrabundah Lane.
The Sundown should not be confused with the little more ‘down-at-mouth’ Longstay. You do not see residences like those pictured on Allhomes at the Longstay, ever. Most at the Longstay are pretty run down, with a general air of neglect. I know because I had a drive around there recently.

VYBerlinaV8 11:35 am 18 May 06

I couldn’t believe how much they wanted to sell their relocatable homes for. $165k and $236K!!!! And you don’t own any land for that money! There are plenty of units for sale for those $$. Check out the Queanbeyan unit market on allhomes for a comparison – and they’re literally minutes up the road.
I also agree with the comments above about Housing – they should be seeking value for money in terms of getting a roof over needy peoples’ heads, not buying places like City Edge.

shauno 11:17 am 18 May 06

“These are an example of the so called caravans.

Are those in the caravan park in question. If so the owner must be pissed off at the timing. No one is going to buy that now.

Les Whinin 10:09 am 18 May 06

The information about the homes in question being permanent structures is incorrect. All the homes on site at Narrabundah ARE transportable, regardless of how they appear. It is a legal requirement for dwelling(s) placed on a long stay site to be readily moveable. This doesn’t necessarily mean just hitching a van up to their Kingswood and hauling their arse out of there, but any of these places could be moved if need be.

Still, thats probably not a major issue in the argument over the future of the park.

Special G 10:03 am 18 May 06

Big Al may have touched on something there. “decisions made about their “investment” in that dwelling were based on an assumption that the zoned land use would remain a constant and that while owners of the caravan park may change, their tenure would be secure as long as they kept up their lease payments.”

It appears they have not kept up their lease payments which may be the reason Koomari decided to sell. It was not financially viable to keep in open.

I am still going to play devils advocate in this one as no one else seems to.

If ACT housing invested in more low income housing that was similar to these home they could have housed all these people and the ones on the waiting list in parks like the one we are talking about. Instead they pay market rates for houses in the suburbs and apartments (for example City Edge in O’Connor). For each of these places they could probably build 5 smaller dwellings in a park.

You can’t jump up and down about these people saving Housing money. I saved Housing money by getting off my arse going to work and buying my own house as well. Does that make me a Saint in your eyes?

Thumper 9:11 am 18 May 06
Thumper 9:03 am 18 May 06

Exactly Chris,

These people have saved millions of tax payers dollars by investing in their own homes rather than using ACT public housing.

As I said before, these are not caravans that can be towed away, they are houses in pretty much every sense of the word.

And now, due to an immoral and unethical decision by a charity, they find themselves not only homeless, but having to pay to remove their homes.

The whole thing reeks and I note that Mr Corbell has been very quiet about the whole fiasco.

Where is our illustrious Bill of Rights? Or does it only concern itself with minority groups. Surely these people have a right to live how and where they want without being at the mercy of developers.

Koomari really have a lot to answer for.

(And yes Areaman, their stuff is way too expensive…)

Chris S 8:53 am 18 May 06

Big Al, you’re dead right, on every count. These are homes, not readily transportable, and in many cases there is a big investment there. Beacuse these homes are not separately titled, they would have had problems seeking finance, and I doubt very much if these people would be eligible for things like the First Home Owners Grant.

Therefore, they have already saved the taxpayer money, they have shown initiative in what they’ve done (they are in a low-income, low socio-economic group, and a few are “damaged” in some way).

They’ve solved their own housing problem, relieved the govt of that burden, yet have been badly let down by government, business and the community.

It’s all a bloody shame, which could have been prevented if Corbell had done something when Deb Foskey first raised this as an issue prior to the sale.

Thumper 8:19 am 18 May 06

Have a look on Allhomes at some of the places. They are not caravans.

nyssa76 7:12 am 18 May 06

With the current emergency housing list at 12 months before placement, I don’t see a snowball’s chance in hell at getting these people housing without pushing someone just a needy out of the way to do it.

Big Al 7:01 am 18 May 06

I think that some understanding of the type of accommodation might be useful – there seems to be a presumption that the dwellings these people are living in are readily transportable – like a traditional caravan. Although this is not an unreasonable assumption, given that they are living in a caravan park, the reality is that many of these dwellings are in fact small houses.

Some are similar to the upmarket accommodation on offer at caravan parks on the south coast – with two or three bedrooms, separate bathroom or en suite, conventional plumbing etc. Others are more makeshift – perhaps being a bit like a site shed from a construction site and no doubt some are genuine caravans in the traditional sense.

The people living here have leased the space within the caravan park and have built a dwelling on that space that I would imagine meets whatever planning requirements are in place. One can only assume that decisions made about their “investment” in that dwelling were based on an assumption that the zoned land use would remain a constant and that while owners of the caravan park may change, their tenure would be secure as long as they kept up their lease payments.

These people have accommodated themselves comfortably at what could only be described as the lowest end of the housing market – probably with little assistance from government housing schemes. I’d suggest that the issue here is not about finding these people somewhere else to “park” their caravan, but rather that it is about finding these people homes.

Indi 8:56 pm 17 May 06

I can’t find a fault in the eviction notice serviced to the residents at the park. Changes to the law would be more productive in the sense of moving forward – govt has missed the boat on this one, and…everyone will be looking to the ads on the LHS of this webpage for a place to plonk the van once the landlord has insisted upon moving on the residents at Narrabundah Park.

Ari 8:43 pm 17 May 06

In another thread on the topic Johnboy said: “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.”

From this release it looks like he was right.

bonfire 7:46 pm 17 May 06

What about all those school ovals that are unusable due to the drought ?

Perfect spot for a few vans.

aussielyn 7:32 pm 17 May 06

I would hope they have an expert lawyer on drafting legislation on contracts in caravan parks and transferral of the land to a new owner. The law is sadly lacking! The eviction notice that the Narra Longstay residents find themselves with must be addressed first. Residents in all ACT Caravan parks are now in no man’s land legally and commercially.
The Property Council must be proud of their man, as they gave him an award awhile back.
Trust that the task force canvasses all the possible options, and I have no problem with it’s finding not being made public, as long as the residents have a good outcome.

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