Acquisition scheme unsettling for many

THE controversy surrounding the Moorebank Voluntary Acquisition Scheme has not subsided since Liverpool Council suspended the project at its April 24 meeting.

Negotiations are still taking place for some acquisitions, leaving residents angry at the variance between property valuations.

In a move that stunned property owners, Councillor Geoff Shelton called to have the suspension overruled and the moratorium on legal proceedings lifted at the May 29 council meeting.

Gonul Tirnova and her husband Erol, who have two properties that are affected by the scheme, have been threatened with legal action for "unlawful modifications" to their home.

The Tirnova family home backs onto the Georges River, an area which was identified as one of the worst floodways in the state in a study from the 1980s.

Under the scheme, no modifications can be made to properties, as any added value to a home would need to be compensated for out of ratepayers' money during the buy-back.

Mrs Tirnova said that when the family moved in, the house was in disrepair and had fire damage.

She said while she acknowledged work had been done to make the house liveable, she expected the council would show some leniency and work with them to reach a compromise.

"The council wants us to tear down the modified parts of our house," she said.

"This is our home and we have put a lot of time, money and effort into making it comfortable.

"At this stage we are just about ready to pack up and sell, but the figure that was offered to us was so little that we would not even be able to buy a unit."

Mrs Tirnova said their original house plan and that of neighbouring homes had the same number of rooms and were almost identical, yet some owners were being paid more than others.

"I don't understand why ratepayer money has to be used in the scheme at all," she said.

"If living along the Georges River poses such a great threat, then the acquisition scheme should become compulsory so as to treat all residents fairly."

Liverpool Council general manager Farooq Portelli said that no legal proceedings against property owners had yet commenced.

He said the council would meet with any property owners affected to assess the need for further action pending outcomes.

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