News and Publications

Property News: 23 October 2018

Billionaire gifting bike park to NZ

Secretive American-born billionaire Ken Dart plans to donate the popular and sprawling Wairoa Gorge Bike Park to the Crown.

It will be managed by the Department of Conservation, with public access run through the Nelson Mountain Bike Club (NMTBC).

He has also sold South Canterbury’s 4046-hectare Lilydale Station, which includes the land used by Fox Peak Ski Field, to local conservationists.

The 860-hectare Wairoa Gorge will be donated to the Crown by the end of the year, to be managed as a conservation reserve. Dart bought the land in 2010 through his company RHL Holdings, and had more than 70 kilometres of mountainbike trails built through the mixed native beech and plantation pine forest.

RHL Holdings spent about $19 million developing the mountainbiking infrastructure on the site.

Since 2016, the Nelson Mountain Bike Club has had a rent-free lease agreement RHL Holdings, allowing the public to access the trails during organised shuttle days. It can currently only be ridden using the paid shuttle service, something the club plans to look at in the future.

(The Nelson Mail, Wednesday 17 October 2018)

Gondola project inches forward

The ambitious gondola project proposed for just outside central Nelson might be a step closer to taking off.

Land owners Ngati Koata and Nelson Adventure Park have announced that they will spend the next six months looking into the project.

Project founder Jo Rainey said the gondola would stretch 1.5 kilometres, coming to a stop 550 metres above sea level on Fringed Hill on a spot which could be seen from the central city.

Rainey estimates the gondola will have the capacity to transport 800 people every hour, and will be visited by up to 130,000 each year.

(The Nelson Mail, Wednesday 17 October 2018)

Quake grant for cinema

Nelson’s landmark State Cinema building has received a $59,000 grant to strengthen its streetfront parapet.

The grant is from the Ministry for Culture and Heritage EQUIP fund. Director of State Cinemas Mark Christensen said it would help to pay for a steel truss to ensure the parapet, above Stefano’s pizzeria, would not fall during an earthquake.

He said the State Cinema building, built in 1936, had been progressively earthquake strengthened over the past five years. The adjoining State Chambers building, which contains six smaller theatres, would also be strengthened, bringing the complex up to more than 70 per cent of the national building standard.

(The Nelson Mail, Wednesday 17 October 2018)

New investor group for dam

Waimea Irrigators Ltd has issued a replacement prospectus for the Waimea dam project, and it’s missing a much-talked-about mystery investor.

The replacement product disclosure statement (PDS) instead outlines a new ‘‘investor vehicle’’ – made up of a group of local family businesses on the Waimea Plains. The investors are not named but four are on the WIL board of directors.

The replacement prospectus comes after changes were made to the financial model for the multimilliondollar dam project.

Waimea Irrigators Ltd (WIL) and Tasman District Council are proposed joint venture partners in the project, earmarked for the Lee Valley.

Changes to the financial model were made after it was revealed estimates for the project had blown out. Once finalised, the updated pricing took the remaining capital costs for the project from an estimated $75.9 million to about $99m, leaving the council and WIL to find an additional $23m between them.

The bulk of WIL’s $11.5m share of that $23m funding gap was tipped to come from an external New Zealand investor, which has not been identified.

However, WIL said on Monday that the situation had now changed. Chairman Murray King said that during investor due diligence, WIL determined there was too much risk in the proposal.

(The Nelson Mail, Wednesday 17 October 2018)

Council to sell housing

Nelson’s community houses are changing hands, but the tenants are safe as houses.

The sale of Nelson City Council’s 142 housing units is being negotiated between the council, Housing New Zealand (HNZ), Nelson Tasman Housing Trust (NTHT), and the newly-formed Ministry for Housing and Urban Development.

Regardless of who purchases the stock, tenants will be kept in the loop and can expect no change in their tenancy.

The council said the investment was urgently needed. About half of the council’s community housing needed renovation of some description, which was estimated to cost up to $20 million.

Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese said this was a ‘‘significant’’ amount for Nelson ratepayers to pay, and the council had been looking for ways to increase the sustainability of the community housing for a while.

(The Nelson Mail, Wednesday 17 October 2018)

Vine idea comes to fruition with summer approaching

The cafe at Nelson’s Founders Heritage Park has reopened with new tenants, just in time for summer.

McCashin’s Hop Garden welcomed its first batch of customers yesterday. It occupies the former premises of Founders Brewery and more recently Park Life, which closed in March.

After a hectic final week of preparations, Hop Garden operator Lincoln Womersley said it was a relief to see months of work coming to fruition.

The new venue is open for breakfast and lunch every day but Mondays and Tuesdays. Womersley said it was planned to stay open later between Thursdays and Saturdays to encourage people to make the most of the dining aspect.

(The Nelson Mail, Friday 19 October 2018)

Storm damage claims unresolved

Nearly a dozen claims for damage from an ex-cyclone that lashed the Nelson region remain unsettled eight months on.

Of 241 claims lodged from Nelson city and Tasman district after the tail end of cyclone Gita hit in February, 230 have been resolved, the Earthquake Commission says.

A total of $6,425,739 was paid out for the 271 claims closed across the country, with Nelson and Tasman the only region where claims were outstanding, the crown entity said.

Slips and flooding caused damage to homes and properties in pockets of Tasman when heavy rain lashed the region on February 20.

The commission wouldn’t reveal what was holding up the 11 remaining claims, saying only it was ‘‘continuing to work with the customers to reach a settlement.’’

(The Nelson Mail, Friday 19 October 2018)

Petition a 'desperate measure'

A day before the hearing of a local bill designed to enable the construction of the proposed Waimea dam, Tasman District Council has received a petition opposing the project.

The organiser of the petition, Jon Pawley, said it was inspired by the lack of consultation on the dam process. He said the petition was a ‘‘desperate measure’’ to get the council to listen.

‘‘The consultations that the council have run has been limited to submitters being able to submit on the funding model and the governance model of the project .  85 per cent of submitters did not support the proposals.’’ he said.

Pawley said that despite this ‘‘overwhelming’’ majority, the dam was put into the council’s Long Term Plan, and since then there had been no opportunity for people to have their say about the proposal.

(The Nelson Mail, Friday 19 October 2018)

Bill raises fears for future of public land

Allowing the Waimea dam to use Department of Conservation land through a local bill sends a signal that the conservation estate is ‘‘open for business’’, a submitter says.

Parliament’s governance and administration select committee yesterday heard submissions for and against a local bill that would grant the Waimea dam 9.67 hectares of conservation land, needed for the reservoir of the proposed dam.

Forest & Bird top of the south regional manager Debs Martin said Forest and Bird’s main concern was that the bill would be seen as a way to gain access to conservation land for development ‘‘ad hoc’’.

She said this had already been hinted at by Tukituki MP Lawrence Yule, who said he was a ‘‘hugely strong advocate for water storage, and at every opportunity [he] will bring those schemes back to this House’’.

Forest & Bird legal counsel Sally Gepp said this underlined the organisation’s main concern.

Supporters of the bill said it was necessary despite its encroachment into conservation land, and any damage to the environment would be offset by an associated biodiversity plan.

Boysenberries New Zealand Ltd managing director and chairman Julian Raine said his organisation supported the bill ‘‘in its entirety’’.

‘‘I see losing just over 9.5 hectares of state forest as a small price to pay for the means to build the dam. To have reliable water is vital to ensure that our growers can continue to grow good berries.’’

Raine said the dam would also improve the health of the Waimea River downstream.

Tasman Mayor Richard Kempthorne said secure water supply was ‘‘the most critical and urgent issue’’ for the Tasman District Council.

‘‘It is unfortunate that the reservoir encroaches on Mt Richmond State Forest Park, but for all the reasons outlined in our submission, we support the bill.’’

(The Nelson Mail, Saturday 20 October 2018)

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