Paddocks of John Zelenka's pinapples will be wiped out as the Hay Point Rd roundabout is built. Photo: Emily Smith / The Daily Mercury
Paddocks of John Zelenka's pinapples will be wiped out as the Hay Point Rd roundabout is built. Photo: Emily Smith / The Daily Mercury

Farmer says goodbye to farm he's lived on for 57 years

WATCHING the trees planted by his father getting cut down was emotional for John Zelenka.

But when works began building the $15 million Hay Point roundabout before finalizing any compensation for the implicated farmer, he really felt exasperated.

The pineapple farmer and his family have lived on the property north of Sarina, since 1957.

"We did get an offer but it was about a quarter as much as our valuer said we should get," Mr Zelenka said.

"They never consider the drainage and roadways we'll have to redesign.

"It leaves an awful taste in the mouth, that they can do this (begin work) without any meaningful negotiations."

Land from Mr Zelenka's farm was resumed for the project.

"It's not just a paddock from the back of beyond. It's prime real estate, right on the highway," he said.

Earlier this year Camilleri's Fresh Fruit shop, which was located on Mr Zelenka's land, closed down to make way for the development.

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He was set to lose three or four hectares of pineapple paddocks, but he believed a major cost would be building new roads, likely to set him back about $140,000.

"They don't care," Mr Zelenka said.

"We have no problem with the local workers; the designer even went out of his way to get us an access route.

"But we just want something fair."

Whereas his pineapple paddocks next to the Bruce Hwy used to be sheltered by rows of trees, they were all knocked down.

"They were mango, gum and bamboo trees all planted by my father. It was a bit emotional watching them knocking them down," he said.

"There were trees all around us.

"So if we want to have that again, that will cut into even more of our farmland. Everything is offset."


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