Un­sus­pect­ing vic­tims of coun­cil price hike

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

“I am just so up­set . . . I can’t live on the street . . . I just can’t.”

An­other res­i­dent, Rita Red­path, said she was dev­as­tated by the news.

“I live at the park too and we’re pen­sion­ers and we can­not af­ford this out­ra­geous jump in rent,” Ms Red­path said.

“I’m on a fixed in­come so where do I get the ex­tra money from, I’m re­tired.”

Doc­u­men­ta­tion ob­tained by the Gazette con­firms the price hike, which has been ar­tic­u­lated to the res­i­dents via the park’s care­taker.

The doc­u­ments show that lower rates for per­ma­nent res­i­dents, or trav­el­ers stay­ing longer than 28 days, will not ap­ply as has hap­pened pre­vi­ously.

Sec­re­tary Man­ager of the Mossman Memo­rial Bowls Club, Kevin Rynne, said he was shocked at the pro­posed in­crease which he be­lieves will also have a neg­a­tive im­pact on nearby clubs and busi­nesses.

“Quite a few grey no­mads who come up here ev­ery year, are both mem­bers and sup­port­ers of the club.

“It could be very detri­men­tal to the club and the wider com­mu­nity will also miss out on their spend­ing.

The owner of the petrol sta­tion at Wonga Beach, Kathy Jordi­son, said the in­crease would also hit her busi­ness hard.

“I was stunned when I was told of the in­crease es­pe­cially when the peo­ple liv­ing there are el­derly and have no ac­cess to any more money to pay the in­crease,” Ms Jordi­son said.

“Also there are many reg­u­lar campers who come from as far away as West­ern Australia and have been stay­ing here ev­ery year and the worst thing is the Coun­cil didn’t even con­tact them to tell them of the in­crease which is pretty poor.

There is, how­ever, a ray of hope for Ms Day and Ms Red­path.

Yes­ter­day Division 10 coun­cil­lor, Ju­lia Leu, moved the rent in­crease be put on hold un­til a re­view of the rents and others charges were looked at dur­ing next week’s meet­ing.

“I’m very happy the coun­cil­lors have put th­ese pro­posed charges on hold be­cause there is no way th­ese peo­ple can af­ford to pay the un­re­al­is­tic price hikes be­ing touted,” Cr Leu said.

“Peo­ple still need to pay their rents of course but I would ad­vise they don’t pay the ex­tra un­til it is all sorted out at the next meet­ing of Coun­cil.”

Act­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer, Bruce Gar­diner, agreed that peo­ple could not be ex­pected to pay such a high in­crease.

“What needs to be done now is that the is­sue with all of the facts will go back to coun­cil of­fi­cers and they will present their find­ings to the Coun­cil­lors at next week’s meet­ing,” Mr Gar­diner said.

“I can­not pre-empt the out­come but it will cer­tainly be de­bated at the next meet­ing and the coun­cilors will have to make a de­ci­sion on what fees and charges for the Wonga Beach Car­a­van Park will be put in place.”

New driver: Bus driver Ted Pitt was look­ing to his first day “of ac­tion” at the newly opened Mossman Gorge Cen­tre.

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