News and Publications

Property News: 6 August 2018

Prospecting decision 'crazy'

A recent decision to accept applications to prospect for minerals on conservation land across Nelson and Marlborough has been labelled ‘‘crazy’’ by Forest & Bird.

New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals, part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), recently reopened 7828 square kilometres across the top of the south for prospecting permits.

It had been closed for three years after a moratorium was put on accepting permit applications to allow regional aeromagnetic surveys and geochemical sampling to be carried out to assess the potential for mining minerals. Those restrictions were lifted on July 8.

Last November, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced there would be no new mines on conservation land.

Forest & Bird top of the south regional manager Debs Martin said the decision created expectations that were concerning, as it was likely that overseas companies would be interested in prospecting.

‘‘On one hand, the prime minister announced there would be no new mines on conservation land, but on the other hand we are announcing to the world that areas within conservation land were open for prospecting. They aren’t going to be doing that for fun,’’ Martin said.

‘‘Then they will put pressure on Government and say, ‘Why did you open this up for prospecting if you weren’t ever going to mine it?’.’’

A permit would allow the holder to the right to prospect for specified minerals, and is restricted to low-impact activities such as aerial surveys, geological mapping and hand sampling.

Martin said the area covered the Dun Mountain and Red Hills, which were part of an ultramafic mineral belt that had unusual geology and provided habitat for a number of threatened species, which was ‘‘quite rare and very special’’. It also included parts of the Kahurangi and Nelson Lakes national parks and the Howard Conservation area.

(The Nelson Mail, Monday 30 July 2018)

Volunteers repair damaged track

What do you do if your much-loved wilderness track has been repeatedly damaged, leaving questions over its future?

For a group of Golden Bay volunteers, the answer was easy. You apply some Kiwi DIY, roll up your sleeves and set about saving it yourselves.

Sixteen Collingwood residents are desperate to keep the Kaituna Track open to the public, and have been working hard to stop it being permanently closed. They have formed the Kaituna Track Restoration Society and, in partnership with the Department of Conservation, have taken over the fixing and maintenance of the track.

Member Brian Cooper said the group had repaired over half the storm damage on the track up to the Kaituna Forks in just a few months.

Ex-Cyclone Gita tore through the Bay in February and badly damaged a number of DOC areas, including the Cobb Valley and parts of Abel Tasman National Park.

An increase in extreme weather events has left DOC questioning whether it can continue fixing low-use areas such as the Kaituna Track, in Kahurangi National Park, if they face repeated storm damage. Repair bills this year have totalled hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The track starts at Carters Rd in the Kaituna Valley and snakes upwards along the cliff edge through thick native bush, past the remains of historic gold sluicing operations, towards the river crossing at the forks, and on to Knuckle Hill.

(The Nelson Mail, Monday 30 July 2018)

Fiasco sparks review

The Nelson City Council’s tendering process for the troubled Greenmeadows community centre project in Stoke should be subject to an external review, a councillor says.

Major structural problems have been identified in the $7.1 million project, which is already a year overdue, with months of repair and other work still to be completed.

Questions raised by local contractors led to the discovery of construction problems. A progress report last week from an independent consultant brought in to audit the project revealed problems including a ‘‘twist’’ in the roof that has to be straightened, the need to remove and reinstall all windows, and the reinstallation of exterior cladding.

Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese said an internal review of the council processes which led to contractor Watts & Hughes winning the tender had been initiated.

Reese said the review would be reported ‘‘in due course’’, but said it was too early to say when.

She said she and councillors were constrained as to what they could say about the project, in part by contractual matters, which the council was taking legal advice on.

Reese said that until she had a full report from consultant Grant Hunt, she couldn’t speculate on when contractual matters would be resolved.

Due to the complexity of the issue, many councillors said they agreed to have Reese as a spokeswoman on the issue.

(The Nelson Mail, Wednesday 1 August 2018)

Reservoirs a dam alternative

A group of Waimea irrigators has revived its proposal for riverside reservoirs as an alternative water storage scheme to the troubled Waimea dam project.

Waimea Irrigators and Waters Users Society consultant Brian Halstead said the group’s updated proposal for three lined storage ponds might get Tasman District Council ‘‘out of a hole’’.

The relaunch of the reservoir scheme comes after a blowout in the expected build price of the controversial dam, earmarked for the Lee Valley, near Nelson, in which the council is a proposed partner.

First unveiled in August 2016, the society’s scheme incorporates a trio of storage ponds seven to eight metres deep – one each side of the Wairoa River just below the Waimea East Irrigation Scheme intake off Clover Rd East, and the third along the Waimea River at Challies Island.

Filled during the winter months, the reservoirs would store an estimated 5 million to 6 million cubic metres of water, which could be released into the river to augment its flow, if needed, in the dry summer months.

Water in the Challies Island pond would be released into the river to stop any salt intrusion, protecting the well fields near the coast.

(The Nelson Mail, Wednesday 1 August 2018)

Nelson slows, Tasman grows

Nelson city’s property market has continued its winter downward trend while house prices in Tasman district continue to increase.

Of the major centres in New Zealand, Nelson had the largest drop in house prices over the past three months. According to figures released by Quotable Value, prices dipped by 0.7 per cent during the quarter.

The figures come after strong growth in the year to July, where house prices rose 5.1 per cent to an average of $559,000.

During the last quarter in Tasman, residential property values rose 1.4 per cent, adding to the year to July growth of 7.5 per cent.

Average house prices in the district were slightly above Nelson at $573,000.

The average national house price in July was $673,797, a drop of 0.7 per cent.

(The Nelson Mail, Friday 3 August 2018)

Public safety at Greenmeadows based on trust

The safety of the public in the Greenmeadows community centre was based primarily on the word of the engineer, Nelson City Council staff say.

Based on the findings of Grant Hunt’s independent review, the council staff could not confirm if the building in Stoke was safe or not.

The Stoke Rugby club was allowed to use its clubrooms at Greenmeadows based on Certificates of Public Use (CPU) issued by the council on three occasions.

CPUs were issued by Nelson City Council (NCC) manager of building Martin Brown and senior building inspectors Tim Bijl and Winton Griggs, signed between April 4 and June 29.

The rugby club later was forced to vacate the premises when it was found that there were problems with base plates, specifically with reinforcing steel. Council chief executive Pat Dougherty described the base plates as ‘‘holding up the roof’’.

(The Nelson Mail, Saturday 4 August 2018)

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