A 73-year-old Queenstowner’s getting used to bouncing between campgrounds.
Part-time bus driver Grant Ramsay’s among 100-plus Frankton Motor Camp residents being sent packing by Queenstown’s council, which is redeveloping the prime lakefront site for camping, only, in time for next summer.
Like all permit-holders and tenants, he has to vacate by January 31, then clear his site by April 30.
Ramsay’s bought a caravan, which he hopes to park somewhere in the Wakatipu, but still hasn’t managed to sell his little house.
When moving to town 32 years ago, he’d also bought a caravan.
He lived in it in the former Mountain View Lodge campground for five or six years, but had to move when the property sold owner built the Pounamu Apartments.
He resurfaced in the former Kawarau Falls Holiday Park, but was booted off that site 15 years ago when it was sold, then later developed for the Hilton Hotel complex.
Ramsay says he then asked Frankton Motor Camp managers Tracey and Graeme O’Rourke if they had a spot for his caravan.
“They indicated they weren’t encouraging any more permanents.”
Fortunately, an existing resident sold him his house, while also buying his caravan in the process.
He says the house cost him $130,000, by the time he added the mortgage.
He’s also had to pay a ground lease – latterly that’s been about $6500 a year.
“It hasn’t been cheap cheap rent as I’m on $19 an hour as a bus driver.”
Now, while waiting for his house to sell, he’s bought another caravan for $30,000.
Ramsay says he’s feeling “very flat and quite uneasy”.
“It’s sad, it’s really sad.
“Yes, we did know it was going to happen, but now it’s come to crunch-time and I have to try and adjust.
“But, such is life.”
Tracey O’Rourke says a lot of residents still have their homes on the market.
“Probably, a few people out there think there’s going to be a fire sale and they’ll get something for nothing, which is a bit of a shame.
“Quite a few of the permanent residents are starting to peel off now.”
Some had bought caravans and are probably going to leave the area.
“It’s quite funny, talking to the council about trying to find something for a person, and the lady says, emergency accommodation was the Frankton Motor Camp, so what do we do now?”‘