Going, going, gone at auction
MORE than 100 curious residents, many looking for a possible bargain, packed into the foyer of Bellingen Council offices on Saturday morning for the much-anticipated auction of land due to unpaid rates.
The sale of the 16 properties, one of which was occupied, did not go under the hammer without controversy.
Sydney couple, Paul Poinkin and his partner, Konstanza Kulakowski, were angry at being refused the right to bid at the auction.
Auctioneer with Crown Real Estate Paul Tobias said he had been instructed by the vendor, the Bellingen Council, to refuse their application.
The couple left the premises amid angry cries of protest about their democratic rights.
Next, local identity Brewster caused a stir as he loudly and continually declared the illegality of the sale.
Police were called to remove him when attempts by council rangers proved unsuccessful.
Bellingen solicitor Tony Cox said the sale of land by councils due to unpaid rates was completely normal and a common practice across NSW.
“If this possibility did not exist, councils would have no recourse for those who continued not to pay,” Mr Cox said. “This is the last resort and only occurs after five years and ample opportunities to circumvent this.”
Once under way, bidding was brisk and competitive for the first two residential properties.
The first in Briner St, Bellingen, went for $335,000 and the second (occupied) in Walter St, Raleigh, went for $202,000.
During bidding for the second property, there were jeers that maybe the house would be burnt down overnight.
Following the sale, the new owner from Coffs Harbour said he was feeling worried and would be checking his legal position should anything occur.
The last eight lots were passed in. All were small pockets of land from road deviations.
At the conclusion of the auction the council’s director of corporate services, Peter Wilson, said the council had now recouped $156,578 of the outstanding $202,336.
“Following this auction we are now able to approach landholders regarding the small parcels to sell by private treaty,” Mr Wilson said.
“I think we’ll get some results now.”