Deal reassures park residents

AS Cockburn council stands poised to approve a new Coogee Beach Caravan Park lease which will see an expansion of cabin-style sites, long-term residents say they are grateful for compensation they have been offered. 

Coogee Resort Permanent Resident Association member Jillian Spruyt says the outcome has been unique.

Discovery Holiday Parks was after a 21-year lease in return for $9.5 million in private investments, including new infrastructure and improvements to power and water systems, but the cabins were set to replace 41 sites occupied by long-term residents.

When the lease was first advertised in February this year, of the 488 submissions, 78 were from residents concerned their homes were in danger and they could be out on the street.

One couple has been living there for more than 40 years.

Ms Spruyt and the other members of the residents association credit Cockburn councillor Phoebe Corke and Cockburn Labor MLA David Scaife with helping them negotiate with Discovery.

“Phoebe has been an absolute gem,” Ms Spruyt said. “She has come to every one of our committee meetings,” while Mr Scaife helped the group print its pamphlets.

As a result, Discovery has voluntarily agreed to help relocate the tenants, paying up to $20,000 to move their mobile homes; since some have been there so long they’re impossible to move, Discovery has offered other solutions including reduced rent at their other properties. 

The success of these efforts may be why the second round of advertising, which closed in November, attracted only three submissions. 

After the lease is signed, Discovery’s next step is to submit a Development Application, which will take an additional 12-18 months. Because the development is expected to be carried out in stages, it will likely be years before some of the residents will have to relocate, and they will be offered 180 days notice when the time comes. 

Ms Spruyt says her main hopes now is that Discovery will make good on its promise. 

by CARSON BODIE

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