What's New

Consent costs pile up for flood-hit homeowners

Flagstaff Team

Beset by delays… Norwood Rd property owners Paddy Stafford-Bush and John van Rensburg have been forced to wait for building consents before work can start to stabilise the cliff face at the rear of their homes

Bayswater residents wanting to stabilise the cliff at the rear of their properties are frustrated that council red tape is delaying progress and adding extra cost.
The owners of 19, 21, and 23 Norwood Rd have applied for a joint resource consent to install ‘soil nails’ into the cliff face and pin a steel mesh across it to stabilise the cliff and remediate damage caused during the Auckland Anniversary floods last January.
Major landslides were caused by the flooding, as water flowed from the road and through their back yards, washing away topsoil.
Homeowners John van Rensburg and Paddy Stafford-Bush said that Auckland Council had not taken any responsibility for the flooding or been helpful during the consent process.
The residents had found the whole process “unfair”.
The residents have been trying to have the work done ever since, but have been slowed down by council demanding more elements in the resource consent, such as a planting plan and building consent, which they feel is unnecessary.
“Why do we need a building consent? It’s not a building,” said Stafford-Bush. “That is regulation gone stupid.”
The residents want the cliff stabilised as the “white placards” issued to their properties by council following the floods will not be removed from property records until remediation works are done.
Failure to complete the remediation could also affect the eligibility of the properties for future EQC coverage, lowering their value, van Rensburg said.
He said the resource-consent team at Auckland Council told him the work needed a building consent, while the building-consent team told him in a phone conversation that it did not.
The owners had no choice but to apply for the building consent as contractors, scheduled to begin work in two weeks, won’t go ahead without one, van Rensburg said.
Unlike the resource consent, building consents were needed for each property, adding extra costs.
It had already cost each of the households $20,000 for the resource consent and $14,000 for a geotechnical report. Building consents would add another $10,000 per household.
“We haven’t even started it and look how much we’ve spent,” Stafford-Bush said.
Van Rensburg said he expected the whole project to cost around $150,000-$200,000 per property when it was completed, with insurance covering only a quarter to a third of the total.
Auckland Council northwest manager for resource consents Ian Dobson said the resource-consent application had involved the consideration of a number of technical, geotechnical and engineering issues resulting in requests for further information, which was why it had taken longer to approve.
He said a building consent was required because work to protect buildings or that is done in conjunction with other building work to remediate or build a new building normally required one.
Stafford-Bush and van Rensburg said the geotechnical assessor they hired said there was no risk of future erosion threatening the properties, as they sit on bedrock.
Van Rensburg said the residents were waiting on approval for the planting plan for the resource consent and were still working on their individual building consents.

Please consider supporting The Devonport Flagstaff by clicking here: