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4 August, 2021

‘Tell em’ they’re dreamin’ Yungaburra woman pleas case to stay at van park

IN SCENES somewhat reminiscent of classic Aussie movie “The Castle” a local woman says “tell em’ they’re dreaming”, if they think she’ll be forced to move from her permanent and humble digs at a picturesque caravan park on the Tablelands.

By Michael Warren

Lakeside Caravan Park resident Jenny Sadar presents her case to TRC Councillors during a recent ordinary meeting in Ravenshoe

IN SCENES somewhat reminiscent of classic Aussie movie “The Castle” a local woman says “tell em’ they’re dreaming”, if they think she’ll be forced to move from her permanent and humble digs at a picturesque caravan park on the Tablelands.

Yungaburra resident Jenny Sadar and a host of her neighbours have spent the past month considering all options after being left shocked upon receiving individual written directives from Tablelands Regional Council advising them they must vacate their current premises by August 31.

Ms Sadar owns her current MDTA dwelling and has lived and occupied site 13 at Lakeside Caravan Park for the past 10 years. Other residents have lived at the park for over 25 years. 

Ms Sadar has also paid years of rent for the land her dwelling sits on, however Council intends to put the park under commercial tender leaving the longtime resident fearful she’ll be left homeless in less than a month. 

A “Notice to leave form” letter addressed to Ms Sadar on June 22 by TRC CEO Gary Rinehart and obtained by The Express states that on October 29, 2020 Council made a decision at its ordinary meeting regarding the future tenancy direction of the Lakeside Motor Inn and Caravan Park service. 

The letter added “In accordance with Council’s resolution, enclosed is a “notice to leave” form, please note the vacate date is August 31.”

The letter also drew Ms Sadar’s attention to item two of the building approval general condition: “If the buildings or structures are not removed to the satisfaction of Council, Council or its contractor may complete the removal of works at a cost borne by the holder/occupier of the site with a minimum of two weeks notice from Council or lessee.” 

In total residents of 13 dwellings on the site have been asked to move and relocate their homes from the caravan park. Five of those are permanent homes, while the other seven are privately owned/holiday homes. 

Ms Sadar said the potential upheaval and relocation of her home would cost upwards of $16000, funds the resident said, she simply doesn’t have. 

Speaking before Council members at the latest TRC ordinary meeting in Ravenshoe just days ago Ms Sadar, during a powerful and emotional deputation delivered an impassioned plea urging Council to show compassion, empathy and to reconsider their decision. 

“We all have different circumstances around work, health and life in general,” Ms Sadar said during her address to TRC Councillors. 

“We do not want to leave but at the very least we propose a period of not less than six months which would allow us all to take the steps necessary, for us, individually.” 

During business without notice the issue was again raised in which Lakeside Caravan dwelling owners appeared to receive a temporary and minor reprieve.

A draft motion that Council “Authorise the CEO to approve extensions of time of up to 12 months to vacate premise” and “Authorise the CEO to reduce and waive Council fees and charges (e.g. dumping fees), where the CEO is satisfied that the payment of such fees and charges would cause financial hardship was carried 6-1.” 

During a mammoth near four and a half-hour Council meeting which finished close to 2pm local time there was a clear and collective audible gasp from the packed public gallery when the Lakeside Caravan group witnessed Deputy Mayor Cardew raise his hand against the motion. 

Moving forward all owners must now each apply for an extension of their “notice to leave” request with each case to be individually assessed Tablelands Regional Council.

Meantime, in another hotly contested debate Councillors, in a tight 4-3 carried decision, voted in favour of salvaging Yungaburra Memorial Hall – for the meantime – after it received an 11th hour reprieve. 

The hall’s stay of execution under the approved motion of “that Council acknowledges Yungaburra Memorial Hall has reached towards the end of its life as a community asset and that its removal be postponed for annual assessment” was a welcomed result for local community groups. 

Yungaburra Association Inc volunteers and officials from Tablelands Folk Festival played key roles in presenting formidable reasons why the aging hall shouldn’t face current demolition. 

Folk Festival officials said the annual festival generates close to $1M for the Tablelands region and it utilizes the hall throughout the event. 

In Atherton the Tablelands Visitor Centre looks set for future relocation. In a carried 5-2 motion Councillors agreed that the centre requires relocation, and as such Priors Creek was endorsed as the preferred location, while in the same motion Council will “Endorse (the) development of a concept draft design and costings for a new visitor info centre, as part of the broader Priors creek project.” 

Lastly, Cr Bilney and Cr Clifton have thanked colleagues for their support after Mayor Rod Marti said no action will be taken against the pair following complaints made against them stemming back to November last year.

“In weighing up the circumstances surrounding the complaints it is the Mayor’s view the Councillors acted in good faith in attempting to allay concerns of other constituents,” Mr Marti said. 

“It is the Mayor’s view that the journey and rigors of the investigation for both Councillors have made them more selfaware and insightful. 

“There is valuable learning to be gained from the investigation journey itself which in this case the Mayor considers aptly and fairly matches the complaint. 

“The mayor further suggests that Councillors’ engagement with the community was not intended to override/supersede a resolution, rather to complement it and all Councillors have learnt from this experience.”

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