News and Publications

Property News - 9 June 2020

Leaks, mould, but still sound

The mould and leaks in Nelson’s Millers Acre Centre, home to the town’s i-Site, were caused by a failure in the cladding and now-outdated design principles.

Parts of the building, owned by Nelson City Council, were closed early last month for urgent repair after four different locations in the building tested positive for the presence of Stachybotrys chartarum, a potentially toxic black mould.

Nelson City Council acting group manager of community services Mark Preston-Thomas said the cladding system of the building, Insulated Concrete Formwork also known as Polyblock, had ‘‘a durability requirement of 15 years, which has not been met in this case’’.

Despite regular annual maintenance of the building’s exterior, cracks and leaks were not detected for the eight years from the building’s construction and code of compliance certification in 2006 until 2014.

Leaks in the building were first reported by tenants of the council owned building in 2014, shortly after a condition assessment that found no significant problems in the building.

A strain of toxic black mould was discovered in air and wall samples from the i-Site, Datacom, Simply New Zealand and the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise Office premises. The i-Site area has been closed and tenants were informed they cannot access parts of the building.

The council said the health risk for staff in the building was low.

(Nelson Mail, Monday 1 June 2020)

Emergency centre already too small

Nelson-Tasman's emergency operations base - opened in 2014 - is already too small.

The $2.2 million centre in Richmond, which was funded by the Nelson and Tasman councils was built to withstand large earthquakes and severe flooding.

Talks have been underway about possible expansion, or development of a new centre after the lack of space was recognised as a major constraint during last year's response to the Pigeon Valley wildfires.

The centre's manager, Joe Kennedy, said the number and intensity of natural events have outpaced them since the centre was opened.

"Largely the decision then was to get a facility that was suitable for most of our events, most of the time. However, since that time the number and intensity of events has increased quite considerably."

Since it was opened Nelson has experienced the magnitude 7.8 earthquake in Kaikōura and associated Tsunami threat to coastal areas of Tasman Bay, two large and damaging tropical cyclones that struck within two weeks of each other and the country's largest wildfire in half a century.

(Nelson Weekly, Wednesday 3 June 2020)

Millions sought for development

An application has been made for $25 million from central government to upgrade infrastructure near a proposed 700-home development in Nelson.

The proposed development of 700 homes to be built in the Mahitahi and Bayview area is a collaboration between two developers, iwi and the council.

Part of the development includes most of the ridgeline between Bayview Road in Atawhai and the Centre of New Zealand as well as land in Maitai’s Kaka Valley.

The land has been identified for its development potential in the Nelson/Tasman Future Development Strategy.

(Nelson Mail, Wednesday 3 June 2020)

Suburban Club sells to Habitat for Humanity

When opportunity knocked, the chance for home ownership was too good to pass up for Habitat for Humanity.

Habitat for Humanity Nelson general manager Nick Clarke said the charity had been looking for somewhere to lease, having outgrown its current Quarantine Rd site, home to the popular ReStore.

The building once housed the Nelson Suburban Club, which moved out in 2017 after 47 years. In 2016, the building was bought by Gibbons Property a division of Gibbons Holdings. It announced at the time it planned to refurbish the site for use as a mixed retail development. Most recently, the space has been in operation as a temporary Covid-19 testing centre.

(Nelson Mail, Wednesday 3 June 2020)

Nelson shelters from house price storm

Nelson house prices are not showing the signs of fragility highlighted in a report that warns New Zealand’s property market is ‘‘teetering on a cliff’s edge’’, local real estate agents say.

The QV House Price Index report released on Tuesday said a disconnect was developing between the expectations of sellers and buyers, suggesting the market was ‘‘on the brink of a material decline for the first time in nearly 12 years’’.

The average value of a home in Nelson rose 0.7 per cent to $658,374 in the three months to May, compared to the national figures of 2.4 per cent and $739,539, the report showed.

A separate report on Tuesday showed property asking prices rising in all but one area of New Zealand. The realestate.co.nz report showed the asking price in Nelson and Bays was $724,198 (just over the national price of $724,058), up 13.3 per cent on the same time last year.

Cyril Collier from Haven Realty Nelson estate agents said Nelson seemed to be in its own bubble. During the last recession, Nelson’s house prices dropped less than most other places in New Zealand and rose faster afterwards, he said.

‘‘Nelson is definitely not bulletproof, but it seems to sit in its own microclimate.’’

An ageing population and the region’s strong primary industry kept the housing market going, Collier said.

(Nelson Mail, Friday 5 June 2020)

Tasman District Council to review debt and rate caps

Tasman District Council is to review its self-imposed caps on debt and rate rises as it grapples with the financial fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic, a budget blowout on the Waimea dam project and the implementation of changing Government policies.

Mayor Tim King tipped the discussion and public consultation on any proposed changes to the council’s $200 million net debt cap and policy of keeping annual rates revenue rises below 3 per cent would be a ‘‘challenging conversation’’.

The council’s financial strategy, containing the debt and rate rise limits, is to be reviewed as its Long Term Plan 2021-31 is developed and is expected to go out for public consultation in March-April next year.

(Nelson Mail, Saturday 6 June 2020)

Modellers pond problems drag on

The long-running saga to fix Tahunanui’s algae-ridden Modellers Pond is likely to drag on, with proposed council upgrades not expected to finish before 2022.

At a Nelson City Council meeting on Thursday, councillors expressed their frustrations about the timeframe while discussing submissions on the 2020/2021 Annual Plan.

In 2019, the previous council had passed a proposal to explore designs to fill in the pond with 1200 cubic metres of concrete – reducing its size and enabling semi-regular flushing with the tides, which would hopefully prevent the build-up of algae.

Nelson City Council property, parks and facilities asset manager Andrew Petheram said if a final decision was made on the proposal, it would take until 2022 for changes to be made.

When asked about the possibility of fast-tracking the project, Petheram said it was unlikely, given the complexity of the detailed design and need for a consent.

(Nelson Mail, Saturday 6 June 2020)