Council gives caravan park managers the boot over toilets
THE managers of the Gympie Caravan Park have been evicted by the council over health and safety issues after the state's Supreme Court yesterday ruled the couple had breached their lease by failing to upgrade the site's toilets and kitchens.
Justice Peter Flanagan found managers Richard Kemp and Emma Noble, "failed to comply with the requirements for remedying these breaches".
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The couple, who have been engaged in a three year-long battle with the council over the park, were ordered to pay the council's court costs.
The breaches related to infrastructure improvements required to be made "as early as January 2013 or before January 2015".
Justice Flanagan said these obligations had not been met.
"The defendants have failed and continue to fail to remedy these breaches," Justice Flanagan said.
The court heard evidence on seven breaches: failing to build new mens' and women's' toilets; failing to construct a new camp kitchen; failing to upgrade the reticulated water services; failing to upgrade the internal roadways; poor workmanship in the existing women's' and mens' toilets; and poor maintenance of the existing camp kitchen.
Mr Kemp and Ms Noble were handed an eviction notice yesterday afternoon.
The couple took over management of the park in 2011.
Their lease required upgrades to areas including sewerage, electrical services, plumbing, drains, concrete and kerbing under a set timetable.
"Having established the seven breaches of the lease, it may be accepted that the defendants are in default under the lease," Justice Flanagan said.
On November 30, 2017 the council issued a notice to remedy the alleged breaches.
A prolonged battle between the parties ensued, with Mr Kemp and Ms Noble accusing the council in 2017 of attempting to oust them by using "bullying tactics".
The notice identified 16 alleged problems; the court said it was sufficient for seven of these to be proven.
The council will assume management of the park.
It will be immediately closed to current and incoming tourists.
Residents living at the park will be unaffected.
Acting CEO Pauline Gordon said the council had been working for three years to resolve the issue.
"Unfortunately, this wasn't an option, and council will take back the management of the site." Ms Gordon said.
"It was no longer an option to operate the park due to not only the noncompliance issues or the numerous breaches of the contract, but also taking into account the complaints the council received from both tourists to the region and the long-term residents on site.
"Unfortunately, the situation became more concerning, and legal action was the only option available. We will work with the residents at the park as we understand this isn't an ideal situation.
"Council will look at working with community service organisations to bring in any additional support should that be required. We want to ensure the residents are okay."