iBar owner Warren Armstrong
iBar owner Warren Armstrong Tweed Daily News

Ibar owner, council set for fee fight

A NEW controversy involving the lap-dancing restaurant iBar in Tweed Heads could engulf Tweed Shire Council following disputed claims that the business owners owe more than $31,000 in council fees.

Council staff made the claims in a report on the adult-themed restaurant due to be considered by councillors today, but iBar owner Warren Armstrong has produced documentation showing council fees were paid.

They show the controversial restaurant and the Council are clearly dancing to different tunes, with Mr Armstrong claiming the Council has increased its fees by far more than three-fold.

Receipts clearly show the amounts being paid in full, but the Council yesterday claimed the payments were late and had to be re-calculated.

Mr Armstrong is fuming, alleging a Council blunder and subsequent attempted cover-up.

He says not only were the fees paid in full, but the new amount allegedly owed has since been calculated on fees which have dramatically increased.

Mr Armstrong said he bought the business in the heart of Tweed Heads from previous owners after he ensured they had produced receipts showing payment of infrastructure fees for water, sewerage and roads amounting to $12,825.

The paperwork shows a bill dated June, 9, 2005 - the day after consent was granted for extensions and improvements to the premises - was paid and accepted with $5000 in cash and $7285 by cheque on December 4, 2008.

A Council spokesperson yesterday said those fees were paid “prior to them being recalculated”.

“A substantial amount ($31,249.20) of recalculated fees is yet to be paid, despite continual requests from Council,” she said.

“The receipt being referred to relates to Stage 2 of the development. The fees were paid prior to them being recalculated. While Council accepted the fees, they do not cover the full fee.

“The contributions applied to the original approval are only valid for 12 months, after which they need to be recalculated by Council.

“The recalculated figure for outstanding contributions relating to Stage 1 and 2 is $31,249.20 and has taken into account any contribution fees paid to date”.

Council staff have recommended councillors today vote to throw the book at the iBar, which has sparked complaints from people upset at its location next to family parkland on the Jack Evans Boat Harbour foreshore.

Staff allege various building and planning rules have also been broken.

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