State of park sparks fury, toilets erupt with faecal matter
TWO months after Gympie Regional Council assumed management of the Gympie Caravan Park, residents say the issues which forced the previous managers out have still not been addressed.
In June, the park's former managers Richard Kemp and Emma Noble were evicted over health and safety issues, after the state's Supreme Court ruled they had breached their lease by failing to upgrade facilities including toilets, shower blocks and kitchens.
The couple was ordered to pay the council's court costs and an eviction notice was issued, which said they had breached their lease by failing to upgrade and maintain facilities.
Council's communication manager Sharna Rowley said this week the site was returned to the council following the termination of the lease and it had closed the park to incoming bookings, but permanent residents were unaffected.
But two months later residents say these health and safety concerns have still not been rectified, and the park is in a "disgusting" state.
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Neil Wildman, a long-time Gympie local and friend of residents in the caravan park, said the council had left the residents adrift.
"Nothing has been done, the pool is a slime hole, the lawn unmowed," Mr Wildman said.
"Male toilets erupt when one is flushed, with faecal matter spraying everywhere."
Mr Wildman said a council worker had told a resident of the park they would not be helping them, and would not be mowing the lawns due to workplace health and safety reasons.
Mr Wildman said it was not until after he raised the issue of coronavirus being able to spread through faecal matter that the council addressed the faulty male toilets.
He said at 6pm Tuesday, after he spoke to a council worker, a crew arrived at the park and blocked off the broken toilet and cleaned the other ones.
Mr Wildman said the showers were also only just fixed with shower heads, and the water pressure was "lousy".
Mr Wildman, who walks his dog near the park most days saw first-hand how bad the facilities were, but said the residents were scared to speak up out of fear they would be evicted, and called on the council to address their concerns.
"It's been shoved in the 'too hard' basket to give these people their dues," he said.
"They [the new council] didn't create it but it's part of their responsibility to make sure this is fixed."
He said the "disgusting" state of the caravan park was enough to encourage residents and visitors to favour Hervey Bay or Rainbow Beach, and could hurt local tourism.
"This is just ludicrous," he said.
Ms Rowley said upon closure of the park council met with residents to support and provide updates on the changes and work to take place on site, as council were concerned about their welfare.
"Due to the noncompliance of areas, sections of the park such as the pool have been closed as they are not safe for use," she said.
"Skip bins have been placed on-site for residents as rubbish was left in public areas, which could not be mowed."
She said the male toilets were also an issue and required work, but temporary toilets which were on site were being used while this issue was fixed.
"This work is now complete and the male toilets are now in use by the permanent residents."
Ms Rowley said other works included installing CCTV and security, and repairing sewer and water issues.
The council has not yet released an update on the park's future; whether or not the site will be sold or new managers employed.
"The decision regarding the future of the site is one for councillors and a report will be taken to council for consideration," Ms Rowley said.