‘Village of the damned’

‘Village of the damned’

Serpentine Falls Park Home and Tourist Village resident Pam Kent mulls over the village’s increases and the amenities she has had to cancel. Photograph – Aaron Van Rongen.

Consistent rent increases over the past few years have forced one resident at the Serpentine Falls Park Home and Tourist Village to cancel her insurances and forgo everyday necessities such as heating.

Pam Kent, who has lived at the village for nearly eight years, said the $200 a week rent instalment for the concrete slab under the house she owns had forced her to cancel her private health insurance, home and contents insurance and funeral insurance.

“I am on a single pension, I don’t have superannuation to rely on and it is a struggle to get from one pension cheque to the next,” she said.

“I had to cancel my car registration for six months and leave the car at a friend’s place before I could afford to pay the three-month instalment.

“This meant I needed to catch taxis to get to the shops and to get to doctors’ appointments which is sometimes two to three times a week.”

Heating is another necessity that Ms Kent said she has had to sacrifice, relying on blankets, warm clothes and a hot water bottle to keep her warm this winter.

She said although she enjoyed living next door to so many friends in the village she was afraid that if something happened to her the costs would be passed on to her estate.

“When our health fails and we lose the fight to live our empty homes remain on site and yet full rent is charged and must be paid each financial year by our families,” she said.

“There are already three or four homes here that are on estate value and I fear there will be nothing left for the family of the legacy.

“I call it the ‘village of the damned’… once you get in, you can’t get out.”

Ms Kent said many of the park’s facilities had not been improved since she had lived there such as the swimming pool, and a $10 per night, per person fee for family to stay at their own homes was ridiculous.

“We have been asking for years to get the pool heated so that the elderly residents can use it for therapy purposes,” she said.

“At the moment it’s like bungee jumping to get in, it is simply not accessible.

“I don’t know how much longer I can handle it and that’s the honest truth.”