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Welfare families 'a cancer'

The development of a 22-unit public housing complex has created a debate among nearby residents.
The development of a 22-unit public housing complex has created a debate among nearby residents.

CAMPAIGNING anti-public-housing letters written by Torquay grandparents, warning that “welfare families will become a cancer in our presently peaceful neighbourhood”, have incensed some locals.

David and Marika Bell letterboxed their mince-no-words, emotional letters after learning a 22-unit, two-bedroom Department of Communities public housing development was targeted to go up next door.

The Bells have lived in their modest brick bungalow for 20 years and yesterday Ms Bell was in tears over both the reaction to the letters and the realisation she now may have to move out of the home in which she raised her children and which she “passionately loves”.

Mr Bell was horrified that the letters had offended locals like nursing student and single mother of six daughters, Sara Chaffey, who rents in nearby Partridge Street.

Ms Chaffey, who only received the Bells’ second letter, phoned the Chronicle on Friday morning and said “my stomach is turning over this letter”.

“How can people write this sort of thing? ‘Public housing is basically provided for people who are financially unable to provide better accommodation for themselves and are in some cases social misfits who by their circumstances and behaviour do not fit into normal society’.”

“The last thing I wanted to do was get anyone off-side,” former police officer Mr Bell told the Chronicle.

“I wrote the harder hitting second letter after learning our first round of 22 submissions had gone to the government’s wrongly advertised post office box – all that hard work wasted.

“I really feel kicked in the guts by this development and then by the fact the government got the post office box address wrong. I was so upset.

“Now I know I will have to take the criticism, of my second letter in particular, on the chin but please tell everyone who has contacted you how sorry I am we offended them. We need their support, not their anger.”

Ms Chaffey said the Bells were misinformed because the sorts of things they described as happening in public housing also happened in rich people’s homes.

The Bells’ second letter described “reports from residents in or near areas of public housing in Hervey Bay” as including burglaries, foul language, domestic disputes, amplified noise of hi-fis, wild parties, damage to property, thefts and other anti-social behaviours”.

The Bells, who have recently committed to spending $40,000 on improving their home, say they have “fantastic neighbours who are more family than friends”.

“We sent off a new pack of submissions yesterday, 32 of them, this time to the correct post office box.

“All I have ever wanted to do is to defend our neighbourhood.”

Copy of Letter

Dear Sir/Madam.

I object to the proposal for the following reasons:

Public housing is basically provided for people who are financially unable to provide better accommodation for themselves and are in some cases social misfits who by their circumstances and behaviour do not fit into normal society.

We presently have a happy neighbourhood, except for some public housing affecting those nearby residents. I chose to reside in this area for its general stability and peace and quiet.

Reports from residents in or near areas of public housing in Hervey Bay describe burglaries, foul language, domestic disputes, amplified noise of hi-fis, wild parties, damage to property, thefts and other anti-social behaviours.

Young children wandering at large at all hours, day and night, unsupervised and getting into mischief.

The very size of this public housing proposal of 22 units compounded into close living quarters for 22 welfare families will become a cancer in our presently peaceful neighbourhood, reducing the value of our homes and lifestyle.

According to the plan there is no provision for children’s playing areas.

They would be, by necessity, using the streets at considerable risk to themselves and disruption to road users.

My personal amenity in my residence and neighbourhood will be seriously impeded by the intended result of your proposal.

Consider my submission, please.



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