IT was chainsaws at 30 paces at Kingscliff yesterday after a fencing contractor threatened to remove a fence in a tense stand-off over unpaid work.
Contractor Peter Sinclair told the developer he would dismantle the fence surrounding his upmarket apartment complex and remove it from the site unless he was given a guarantee he would be paid around $10,000 owing.
Mr Sinclair delivered the ultimatum when he arrived on the Ariel project site in Marine Parade armed with a chainsaw, sledgehammer and a video camera at 9am.
He and work colleague Peter Campbell waited about 20 minutes before starting to remove several metres of fence when developer Adam Perrier belately arrived on the scene to negotiate.
Mr Sinclair is one of several contractors owed tens of thousands of dollars since the original builder, Steve Wong, was given his marching orders by Mr Perrier following ongoing payment issues.
Mr Sinclair said he had decided to make a stand after Mr Perrier failed to acknowledge requests for a guarantee since October.
"I have been to the police and what I intend to do is quite lawful," he said.
"I am simply removing my material from the site and although I'm still going to cop a big loss I don't see that I have any alternative."
After negotiations and a flurry of phone calls a compromise was reached, with Mr Sinclair accepted a guarantee from Mr Perrier for work yet to be completed and an undertaking from Mr Wong to pay him for work already done.
Mr Wong says when he left the job Mr Perrier owed him $1.7 million for work done so far.
Mr Perrier disputes the amount and accuses the builder of being responsible for cost blow-outs on the project.
The launch of the Ariel Apartments was due to be held this afternoon.