Site holders given eviction notices

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Notice to vacate: The empty office at the Mathoura Liston Caravan Park. Photo by Steve Huntley

Permanent site holders at Mathoura Liston Caravan Park have again been handed eviction notices, as the park’s future still remains unclear.

Murray River Council has asked site holders ‒ who have been fighting to keep their sites at the park since March ‒ to remove their dwellings by September 1 and store them away while safety upgrades are undertaken at the park.

But site holders spokesperson Ian Berry said there had been no guarantee from council that they could bring their dwellings back afterwards.

In a meeting between site holders and councillors in March, councillor John Harvie said discussions had been positive, with Mr Berry even going as far as to say that the future of the park seemed promising.

Fast forward to now and Mr Berry said site holders were disappointed in the lack of action that had been taken to try and keep the park open, after they had provided a number of solutions to council, such as offering to fix up anything that was non-compliant, paying extra fees and self managing the park.

“Initially council had been very open to working with us to make the site more compliant, but they never ended up delivering,” Mr Berry said.

“All we wanted was honesty and all we received was an eviction notice.”

Mr Berry said he did not understand why permanent site holders were being evicted for a non-compliant park when it was supposed to be managed and maintained by council.

Unknown future: The bathroom block at Mathoura’s Liston Caravan Park. Photo by Steve Huntley

Councillor Tom Weyrich said council was originally willing to work with the permanent site holders to find solutions, until an in-depth report declared the park was riddled with issues.

“The park is in a state of disrepair — it breaches many OH&S and EPA regulations, leaving it wide open to litigation issues, should there be any incidents or accidents,” Cr Weyrich said.

He said council was still not sure about the future of the park and said it would continue to be assessed while improvement works were under way.

Originally from Mathoura, Cr Weyrich said he stood with the Mathoura community, and felt saddened by the potential loss of the park.

“I know that community members from Mathoura are concerned about the loss of the park and its site holders who have contributed to our town, but if there was ever an accident in the park, it would end up having to be paid by all the ratepayers in the Murray River Council zone,” he said.

“That park has been running since 1941 and it would be a shame if the town lost it.

“There’s not a single councillor that wants to see the place go, but at the same time the park is a risk and we have to ensure safety — our hands are tied.”

As to what’s in store for the site holders, Mr Berry said half a dozen site holders would be re-locating to Lake Cooper, just outside of Corop.

“We love the people of Mathoura and we are saddened to leave such a great community,” Mr Berry said.

He said he expected that more site holders would commit to re-locating there as well.