Compromise on cabin park lease

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RESIDENTS at Seaford Beach Cabin Park may be able to stay at the emergency accommodation after Frankston Council agreed to offer owner Michael Hibbert a new 10-year lease.

Negotiations between Mr Hibbert and Frankston Council had appeared to stall late last year (‘No end in sight for cabin park site deal’, The Times 22/12/14) but council announced on Christmas eve that it would extend the cabin park’s lease.

Mayor Cr Sandra Meyer said “this is great news for the cabin park residents”.

“We have listened to their views and decided to renew the cabin park’s lease on Crown land.”

Deputy mayor Cr Glenn Aitken and councillors Rebekah Spelman and Colin Hampton attended a public meeting hosted by the Seaford Community Committee in November to hear residents’ concerns that they would be evicted if council pressed ahead with plans to build a car park on the Crown land portion of the cabin park.

Council said it would work closely with Mr Hibbert to ensure cabins comply with planning, health and building regulations. Another condition of the 10-year lease would include “a requirement that any future tenant rental increases are minimal”, according to council.

Mr Hibbert said he is “relieved” council decided to extend the lease since it would give the disadvantaged and marginalised residents who live at the cabin park some “certainty” about their living arrangements.

The cabin park owner said there are still some aspects of the lease to be “nutted out”.

He told The Times council is demanding a $50,000 bond and a year’s worth of rent upfront, totalling about $90,000.

He said council had also requested he “replace the cabins”.

Mr Hibbert said this would cost “about $3 million to $4 million” and was not viable with a 10-year lease.

He said council had subsequently suggested “2 or 3 cabins” be replaced each year.

“I’m trying to keep the costs to residents down and would have to pass on the costs to residents if that was the case,” Mr Hibbert said.

“Yet council are telling me I can’t increase rents by any more than the CPI [consumer price index] rate.”

Cr Mayer said “we are proposing terms and conditions in the lease to ensure improvements are made to enhance the site and upgrade facilities to better support resident wellbeing”.

Council and Mr Hibbert will discuss the terms of the new 10-year lease at a meeting in mid-January.

Mr Hibbert hoped the situation could be resolved “but they’re making it hard for me”.

First published in the Frankston Times

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