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Property News - 1 April 2021

Greenmeadows ‘resolved’ with $340,000

Nelson has closed a costly chapter with the resolution of the Greenmeadows construction project, the council says.

The Nelson City Council released a statement late on Friday afternoon saying that ‘‘discussions with the principal parties’’ had been ‘‘resolved’’.

‘‘Council’s concerns in relation to that project have been resolved to council’s satisfaction,’’ the statement said.

‘‘As a result, the sum of $340,000 will be paid to [the] council on behalf of the parties (without any admission of liability). The remaining details of the matter are confidential to the parties.’’

(Nelson Mail, Monday 22 March 2021)

New library cost could be under budgeted $44m

Nelson’s new library is more than a building and could cost less than the budgeted $44 million, the Nelson City Council claims.

The new library is one of the Long Term Plan’s (LTP) eight ‘‘key issues’’ highlighted by the council, but at Thursday’s meeting discussing the proposal councillors, the Mayor and even the chief executive all stressed that the early stages of the project meant designs and budgets were far from final.

Mayor Rachel Reese said she wanted to be very clear in the language about the project, suggesting changing the $46.3 million (taking into account inflation) figure from an ‘‘investment’’ to a ‘‘provision’’, as it was an imprecise figure which took into account contingencies of up to 50 per cent.

(Nelson Mail, Monday 22 March 2021)

Mayor seeks Government help

Tasman district mayor Tim King has gone cap in hand to the Government seeking help with the rising costs of the Waimea Community Dam project.

King wrote to Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash on February 23, the day after Tasman District Council and Waimea Irrigators Ltd – as shareholders in the project – received news of the latest forecast $29 million blowout with the build in the Lee Valley, about 36km southeast of Nelson.

‘‘From an estimation of $129.4m to complete, it is now projected that the final costs will be between $148m and $164m,’’ King says in the letter.

(Nelson Mail, Monday 22 March 2021)

Long term plan ‘More than dam’

A vote by elected members to release the Tasman District Council draft Long Term Plan 2021-31 for public consultation came with a plea for residents to look beyond the Waimea dam project.

Mayor Tim King on Thursday moved a resolution to adopt the council’s 10-year plan consultation document and other supporting information including its draft revenue and financing policy, which will now go out for public submissions between March 24 and April 24.

(Nelson Mail, Monday 22 March 2021)

Cell tower gets poor reception

A cellphone tower will be a blot on a ‘‘pristine’’ landscape, say residents of a popular bay near Nelson.

Residents of the picturesque Cable Bay, 27 kilometres northeast of Nelson, received letters last week from the Rural Connectivity Group (RCG) telling them that in April, construction would begin on an 11-metre tower on a paddock overlooking the bay.

‘‘We are outraged that there has been no engagement at all with the wider community on this issue.’’

The RCG was appointed by the Government in August 2017 to bring 4G mobile and wireless broadband coverage to rural areas. It is a national collaboration between Crown Infrastructure Partners and three mobile network operators – 2degrees, Spark and Vodafone – to build more than 500 cellphone site facilities around rural New Zealand.

Under national environmental standards, regulations made under the Resource Management Act, some cellphone sites can be built without resource consent.

Ian Stuart, who owns Cable Bay Holiday Park, said that while the location could be better, he was ‘‘pretty relaxed’’ about the tower.

(Nelson Mail, Wednesday 24 March 2021)

Cawthron move to boost innovation

More space and more opportunities for innovation are the big reasons behind the Cawthron Institute looking to relocate to a new Science and Technology Precinct at Port Nelson.

The possibility of the new development was announced last week, with a site being investigated on Port Nelson land.

Port Nelson is collaborating with Cawthron on the project, along with up to $5 million in support from the Nelson City Council.

For Cawthron’s new chief executive Volker Kuntzsch, relocating is an opportunity to upgrade the institute’s facilities and collaborate with other organisations.

(Nelson Mail, Wednesday 24 March 2021)

Drivers of dam cost revealed

The exposure of more foundations for the construction of the Waimea dam unearthed further geological challenges that helped to drive up the cost of the build, a report says.

Waimea Water Ltd’s (WWL) mid-year report outlines further detail of what is behind a $42.8 million hike in the probable construction budget for the dam, which has taken the expected build cost from $104.4m in 2018 to $147.2m.

Another $11.2m is tipped to be needed for Covid-19-related costs and associated delays, taking WWL’s latest forecast cost to complete the dam up to $158.4m.

WWL is a council-controlled organisation responsible for managing the construction, operation and maintenance of the dam. It is a joint venture between the Tasman District Council and Waimea Irrigators Ltd.

Waimea Water says the geological conditions encountered during construction were expected to account for an estimated $22m of the additional cost to build the dam.

Some of the geological conditions have been already reported, including the discovery that some rock on site was of lower quality than anticipated, prompting a redesign of the embankment and the use of some imported rock.

Voids and foundation defects have been exposed beneath the embankment and spillway and require treatment.

Design modifications to improve the resilience of the dam are expected to account for about $6m of the additional cost.

(Nelson Mail, Friday 26 March 2021)

‘Consultation on steroids’ for CBD revamp

Nelson’s city centre development is a top priority – but a once-bitten-twice-shy council isn’t rushing into any changes, instead aiming for ‘‘consultation on steroids’’.

Opinions on proposals for the city centre have proved to be balanced on a knife edge. The Nelson City Council has now taken a cautious approach to its plans, even passing up $90,000 in Government funding to allow its spatial plan and parking strategy to be completed first.

Councillor Mel Courtney, chair of the council’s city centre working group, said that based on ‘‘feedback that we need to lift our game with respect to [consultation]’’, the council would be ‘‘consulting right now, starting immediately, and it’s going to be consultation on steroids’’.

(Nelson Mail, Saturday 27 March 2021)

Price cap changes not enough for first home buyers

Moves to make it easier for first home buyers to enter the market in Nelson and Tasman have been described as unlikely to make a difference for those who need it most.

The income caps for the Government’s First Home Grants will be raised from April 1, from $500,000 to $525,000 for existing homes, and from $550,000 to $600,000 for new builds.

They were announced on Tuesday among a suite of policy changes intended to make the property market fairer for first home buyers.

First home buyer Jess said she and her partner were looking to buy a house in Nelson before lockdown, but prices ‘‘skyrocketed’’ when the borders closed.

Nelson National list MP Nick Smith said he thought the Government was out of touch with the Nelson housing market, and the changes were unlikely to be of much help.

The First Home scheme, which was introduced in 2015, had helped 363 people in Nelson and Tasman in 2016, 415 in 2017, 443 in 2018, and 461 in 2019, but the numbers fell to 335 in 2020.

Smith said it would ‘‘continue to fail’’ in Nelson and Tasman, with buyers unable to find homes under the new price caps.

(Nelson Mail, Saturday 27 March 2021)

Cob cottage restored by builder’s descendant

Parked in Nelson’s Washington Valley in 1973, showing her husband the little cottage her great-grandfather James Simpson had built, Shireen Brookman had a feeling she’d live there herself one day.

But she didn’t know how, and she didn’t pursue it. Until – nearly 20 years later – she received a phone call.

The owner had just died, and his sister called to see if Shireen and husband Bob Brookman wanted to buy the house. The deal was quickly agreed.

The two-bedroom cottage on Washington Rd was built by Simpson in about 1865, and is one of the country’s original cob cottages – made of straw, rushes and clay.

The building has a category two listing with Heritage New Zealand/ Pouhere Taonga.

Cob houses can be found across the world, with some in Brittany, France still inhabited more than 500 years after they were built.

(Nelson Mail, Saturday 27 March 2021)

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