Res­i­dents protest move

North West Telegraph - - News - Sy­narah Mur­phy

Res­i­dents from the Port Hed­land Re­tire­ment Vil­lage have taken ac­tion over plans to move ev­ery­body out of the com­plex amid safety con­cerns.

They are cir­cu­lat­ing a pe­ti­tion to the State Gov­ern­ment call­ing on the Town of Port Hed­land to re­verse its de­ci­sion and al­low peo­ple to keep liv­ing in the vil­lage, de­spite con­cerns the build­ings are un­safe as the cy­clone sea­son moves closer.

The Town has told the res­i­dents their leases will not be re­newed when they ex­pire in June, but has of­fered them al­ter­na­tive ac­com­mo­da­tion about 20km away at Egret Court in South Hed­land.

Res­i­dents were no­ti­fied by let­ter on Novem­ber 8 and given seven days no­tice to at­tend an on-site meet­ing to dis­cuss the mat­ter with Town of Port Hed­land of­fi­cials.

In the let­ter, Town chief ex­ec­u­tive David Pentz said an in­de­pen­dent sur­veyor had deemed the build­ings un­safe.

“Given the cy­clone sea­son has com­menced, the town rec­om­mends re­lo­cat­ing at your ear­li­est op­por­tu­nity for your per­sonal safety,” he wrote.

The res­i­dents held a pub­lic meet­ing at the vil­lage on Satur­day and waved plac­ards in an at­tempt to con­vince the Town they wanted to stay put where the ma­jor­ity had lived for more than 20 years.

More than 50 lo­cals voiced their con­cerns for the res­i­dents liv­ing in the com­plex.

Event or­gan­iser Kailah Mar­shall spoke at the meet­ing about the need for sup­port and emo­tional well­be­ing.

“My main fo­cus was to show res­i­dents that the town cares about their well­be­ing, and re­gard­less of the out­come — we all wanted to show the res­i­dents at Stevens Street that the town is sup­port­ing them,” she said.

“A lo­cal busi­ness has do­nated 50 hours of labour to help re­build the vil­lage in fu­ture works at the site if it’s go­ing ahead in 2019.”

Res­i­dents will have the op­por­tu­nity to voice their con­cerns on the mat­ter at the next coun­cil meet­ing on Novem­ber 28 at the Port Hed­land Civic Cen­tre. Port Hed­land Mayor Camilo Blanco was con­tacted for com­ment.

Pic­ture: Robert Dougherty

Lo­cals gather to show their sup­port for the res­i­dents of the Port Hed­land Re­tire­ment Vil­lage.

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