$140,000 rates bill
By PETER CATON
WORRIED about paying your rates? One ratepayer has remained a step ahead of Tweed Shire Council - so far.
Warren Tschannen, controversial owner of Tweed's notorious Banora Point Caravan Park is now being pursued by Tweed Shire Council for four years of rates totalling about $140,000.
No other individual ratepayer owes as much, although some companies with large landholdings are understood to owe more.
The unflappable Mr Tschannen, a businessman from Currumbin Valley, appears unworried.
Mr Tschannen, who makes regular appearances with his remaining permanent caravan park residents in the NSW Tenancies Tribunal, is sole shareholder in Caraco Pty Ltd which owns the land, and Blackington Pty Ltd which runs the park.
Under NSW law the council can sell a property to recover rates once they are five years in arrears. But Mr Tschannen has repeatedly kept his arrears to just four years.
Fed up with the outstanding debt the council is taking legal action to recover the money as an outstanding debt - along with another $60,000 Mr Tschannen owes the council in outstanding court costs.
That follows long court proceedings related to the operation of the rundown Banora Point Caravan Park which the council wants to close.
Mr Tschannen could not be contacted yesterday.
The council's solicitor Tony Smith of Stacks the Law firm said legal action was in train to recover the arrears as an outstanding debt, and further action was in place to recover an award of $60,000 in Supreme Court costs following other legal dealings.
Mr Smith said the action to recover the rates arrears was "part of our overall strategy of pursuing everything" in regard to the Banora Point Caravan Park.
The council's chief finance officer Michael Chorlton warned ratepayers with arrears were still charged Supreme Court interest rates which varied between 10 and 12 per cent per annum.