HERE WE GO AGAIN
By DARREN COYNE
BANORA Point caravan park resident Len Hogg admits he is sick of tribunals and courts.
But tomorrow he will again be leading the charge on behalf of 19 park residents in yet another hearing of the NSW Tenancy Tribunal, fighting for their right to lead quiet lives.
Mr Hogg said in the past seven years permanent
residents have appeared at 700 tribunals and hearings.
This time, the residents of the park have lodged claims for compensation against the owner of the caravan park, Warren Tschannen, for what they claim is a loss of their right to "quiet enjoyment" of life.
They argue that right has been stripped away by an erosion of services and the alleged mismanagement by the park owner and various employers.
"We know the park owner has an agenda to close the park ... we're saying he should be doing it in a proper manner," Mr Hogg said.
The maximum payout to each of the 19 resident is $10,000 if the tribunal finds in their favour.
"It's highly unlikely we'll get that, but if anyone had a case for that we should," Mr Hogg said.
It's another chapter in the park's sordid history, which more recently has involved police raids on the park, moves by the state government to take over control of its administration, and attempts by the Tweed Shire Council to recoup around $200,000 in outstanding rates and court ordered costs.
Mr Hogg is hopeful that the ongoing sagas could soon be drawing to a close, and was buoyed last month when the residents had a much-needed win at the tribunal.
The tribunal awarded a $20 a week reduction in rent for a 52-week period between 2004 and 2005 for a loss of services, but dismissed other applications relating to 2002, 2003 and 2004.
The tangle with permanent residents is not the only legal wrangle Mr Tschannen is currently involved in.
The NSW Office of Fair Trading applied to the Supreme Court on February 14 for an admini-strator to run the park. Mr Tschannen is opposing the application, and that hearing is set down for April 24.
Meanwhile, Tweed Shire Council's law firm, Stacks at Murwillumbah, will appear on behalf of the council at the District Court in Byron Bay on April 13 in an effort to recoup around $80,000 in costs awarded against Mr Tschannen from a previous court case.
The law firm also is handling the council's attempt to recoup almost $120,000 from Mr Tschannen for unpaid rates.
Acting general manager Reg Norville yesterday said although such debt collection was normally handled in-house, the case had been handed over to Stacks because of its complexity.
The Daily News was unable to contact Mr Tschannen yesterday.