Over two dozen long-term residents of Roebuck Bay Caravan Park were handed 180-day eviction notices earlier this year. This is to make way for a multimillionproject planned by Discovery , Roebuck Bay’s operator.
The developer assured residents that they would assist in finding new sites within park grounds, but they continued to be anxious about relocation.
For several of the pensioners who have made the park their home, the thought of moving sites is next to impossible.
Veronica Scholtes, a resident of the park for 20 years, said that she only has $3,000 saved up for emergencies, has been asking for help to fund her move.
And even if she’s collected enough, it may not even be possible to move to her new.
“I don’t even know if my van can be moved,” she said.
“I doubt it. I don’t know whether it should be repaired and moved or whether I should try and find a new one — I’ve got no plan and no resources.”
“I’ve been in the park for four years, but my site’s been there for 30,” she said.
“I’ve expanded on it slightly, but there’s a lot there.”
Ms. Willis stated that she’s looking at a bill that exceeds $15,000, and even then, she is uncertain that her complex would fit into the new, smalleroffered to her.
In a recent meeting of residents, Discoveryrepresentatives, and the Shire of Broome, Ms. Willis led the calls from residents asking for compassion.
“There’s a provision in the lease with Discovery that they’re going to treat the tenants as per legislation,” she said.
“That means we’ve got no grounds [to ask for help].”
Grant Wilckens, Discoverychief executive, said that while he understood the residents’ anxiety, the operator had to work as carefully and smoothly as feasible. There had not been any setbacks.
“Over the past few months, we have been going through a detailed process of working with impacted residents to understand their specific needs and preferred alternative sites. This process takes time,” he said.
“It is dangerous and disruptive to move transportable homes when the park is busy with tourists during peak periods.”
“The intention was always that no resident would move until the conclusion of high season, after the October school holidays and after Christmas.”
Wilckens added that it was also essential to see how the permanent residents would benefit from Discovery‘ upgrades.
“While the park could have been used entirely for, we recognize that this property has served as a low-cost housing solution for these residents,” he said.
“Therefore, we decided to dedicate a section of the new property to permanent residents.”
“Importantly, our permanent residents … will have access to a new resort pool, BBQs, andkitchens around the park, and greatly improved security across the .”
Harold Tracey, Shire of Broome’s president, said while the council would listen to tenants and help as much as possible, he said the council would not be offering compensation.
“Given that residents were given 180 days’ notice of Discovery’s plans at the caravan park, compensation is not relevant in this instance and will not be considered,” he said.
“The shire is assisting in the process and wants to play a role in ensuring the residents’ wishes are heard, but Discovery is ultimately in control of the project.”
Ms. Willis said all the tenants were well informed of this but believed putting their case to the park as well as the shire would demonstrate how dire their circumstances had become.
“We’re asking for compassion,” she said.