Anna's backyard dream backfires

MURWILLUMBAH pensioner Anna Iwanushca had a fairly simple dream to pay off her debts before she dies by selling of part of her backyard. But that was before she began dealing with Tweed Shire Council nearly three years ago.

Now the dream has turned sour, with constant delays and soaring costs which have left the 76-year-old with bigger debts at a time of rising interest rates.

A list of delays and correspondence with the council provided by her surveyors spans three pages, and still Mrs Iwanushca has no idea when the nightmare will end.

The council, which says it is looking at the matter, yesterday had no response to Tweed Daily News queries after Mrs Iwanushca turned to us as a last resort.

"Being a pensioner and having nothing but my land and house as my only assets, I decided to sell the back parcel of land to pay my debts so as to leave nothing for my children to pay in the event of my death," she said.

Mrs Iwanushca signed a contract with purchasers in 2005, but said the council insisted she would have to pay to have the subdivision done.

"I was quoted by the council and the surveyors that it would take six to 12 months to carry out all the works and at a cost of between $9000 and $13,000.

"And so began the worst experience of my life. "Instead of six months to a year it has been two years and three months. "Through no fault of mine but between council, the engineers and the surveyors, costs to council have now escalated to $29187.80. My surveyor's fee is $7601.00 "Now I have to borrow more money to pay all these debts which have gotten out of control.

"They have dragged this out from a simple sub-division on a small block of land to a huge job as if it were a housing development.

"People in council have admitted to me and my daughters that it is no fault of mine, but just a big mess. It was placed in the too hard basket at council for quite some time as mistakes had been made while drawing up the plans for all the groundworks."

Mrs Iwanuscha said she would now have to borrow even more to settle the bills and pay the NSW Land Titles Office for new titles.

"In the meantime the purchaser has sat back and has seen the land prices rise, but my costs have escalated beyond belief," she said.

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