News and Publications

Property News: 3 December 2018

Nelson rentals in high demand

Demand for rental properties in Nelson continues to grow in 2018, with many tenants struggling to find affordable accommodation.

Government statistics show median rents in Nelson city reached $383 in October, with Tasman district at $387.

Nelson Tasman Housing Trust director Carrie Mozena said it was getting harder and harder for people to find affordable properties.

She said the main problem was the relationship between incomes and the cost of rents.

Mozena said the worst-affected people were those on limited or low-wage incomes, but there were also people struggling to find properties after their landlords had sold their houses.

There had also been a high demand for council pensioner housing in Nelson, with 50 to 60 people on the waiting list during the past year, Mozena said.

As well as having to settle for flatting situations, some families were having to get ‘‘creative’’ by finding accommodation in caravans, tents or sheds, she said.

(The Nelson Mail, Monday 26 November 2018)

Nelson projects win big at House of the Year contest

Two Nelson homes have taken top spots at the Master Builders House of the Year competition, which recognises residential building and design.

Mike Greer Homes in Nelson won the Volume/Group Housing New Home up to $450,000 category. The two-bedroom home built by the company in Stoke was described by judges as ‘‘the complete package’’.

‘‘It offers well-balanced design and functionality, with good detailing, workmanship and appropriate material selections. The home demonstrates excellent value for money, with the builder achieving a great result for their clients.’’

A home by Inhaus Developments in Redwood Valley, Richmond won the Nulook New Home $700,000-$1 million category.

The 360 sqm home was the result of a good collaboration between home owner, architect and builder, judges said.

‘‘This well-designed home, with a sensible approach to detailing by the builder, makes this house feel very special. This home was a real test of the builder’s skills, and a first-class result has been achieved.’’

(The Nelson Mail, Monday 26 November 2018)

Dam flyer causes distress

A couple in their 80s have been frightened by a flyer’s claims that an 8m-high wall of water could hit their town if the proposed Waimea dam fails.

The Smiths – Geoffrey, 84, and Wendy, 83 – live in the growing settlement of Brightwater. Like many residents, they received a flyer in their letterbox last week, headed: Time for the truth on the Lee Valley dam. How the Waimea dam could affect you, your family, your home and its value.

The flyer contains several claims about the proposed dam, including fears of a ‘‘tidal wave’’ if the structure should fail.

Scientist and former Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Dr Morgan Williams is one of several people who have hit back at the claims in the flyer and its anonymous authors.

Williams labelled the claims ‘‘scaremongering’’. He said the claim that the dam could burst and create an 8m wave in Brightwater 20 minutes later was ‘‘pure fantasy’’.

The flyer says the information is provided by a ‘‘group of local residents/ratepayers’’, but no names are included.

The Smiths sought reassurance from some councillors. They also contacted Nelson MP Dr Nick Smith’s office.

The MP said he had also spoken with ‘‘mothers in tears’’ over the flyer at the Nelson A&P Show during the weekend.

‘‘I am appalled that dam opponents have resorted to this sort of desperate scaremongering,’’ he said.

‘‘Nobody should be publishing or distributing made-up claims on issues as serious as earthquake and tidal wave risks.’’

Dam share uptakes confirmed

Share subscribers in Waimea Irrigators Ltd have confirmed their subscriptions for more than 3000 water shares in the Waimea dam project.

Waimea Irrigators Ltd (WIL) in October issued a replacement product disclosure statement for its planned investment in the multimillion-dollar project to build a dam in the Lee Valley, near Nelson. WIL and Tasman District Council are proposed joint-venture partners in the project.

WIL’s replacement product disclosure statement (PDS) detailed additional investment of $11.5 million by WIL. The extra funds were needed after updated pricing took the remaining capital costs for the project from an estimated $75.9m to about $99m, leaving a $23m gap for WIL and the council to plug.

The details in the replacement PDS include an increase to subscribers in the cost of water charges, from $600 per water share a year to $650.

A new ‘‘investor vehicle’’, made up of a group of local family businesses on the Waimea Plains, has committed to invest $11m in WIL.

The council is due on Friday to make a final go/no-go decision on the dam.

Nelson refuses extra funding

The controversial Waimea dam has secured $5 million in funding from Nelson’s ratepayers, but no more, despite an increase in dam costs.

The dam was originally priced at $102m, but this has increased by almost $4m to a total of $105.8m.

Nelson City Council (NCC) held an extraordinary full council meeting yesterday ahead of Tasman District Council’s (TDC) final dam decision on Friday. The meeting was to confirm the NCC’s $5m funding contribution to the dam, to give the TDC certainty in its decision-making, by way of a legally binding letter written by council CEO Pat Dougherty.

The Tasman council had approached the Nelson council to see if the $5m grant promised might be increased to $6.5m.

(The Nelson Mail, Wednesday 28 November 2018)

Damage to windows sees benches closed

The benches outside the Nelson Provincial Museum in Hardy St have been closed for public safety.

The windows backing the benches were recently stripped of large decal advertisements, revealing ‘‘significant’’ cracks in the glass, some over a metre long.

The cracked windows are above the benches where homeless man Jason McCutcheon has been sleeping, but museum CEO Lucinda Blackley-Jimson said it would be ‘‘purely speculation’’ to say what had caused the cracks. ‘‘We don’t know 100 per cent.’’

Nelson City Council has been working with various organisations to try to move McCutcheon on, and recently confiscated belongings he had stored on the benches. Museum staff have asked McCutcheon not to stay on the benches for his own safety.

(The Nelson Mail, Friday 30 November 2018)

Centre on track for completion

The long-running and troubled Greenmeadows project is drawing to an end, and may produce an even better facility than if it had been done right from the start.

Nelson city councillors heard an update on the project as part of the first quarterly report to the community services committee on Tuesday.

The construction of the building, which is to be a community centre for Stoke, has been plagued by poor workmanship, budget blowouts and delays. Despite tendering for just under $5 million, the final budget now sits at just over $7m, and the centre’s opening has been delayed by more than a year.

Councillor Matt Lawrey asked council infrastructure group manager Alec Louverdis if the extra scrutiny may have led to a better building than might otherwise be expected, which Louverdis said was possible.

Louverdis said that despite apparent perceptions that work had slowed down, things were progressing at the site in time for a staged opening and likely completion in January.

(The Nelson Mail, Friday 30 November 2018)

Controversial dam gets nod

The $105.9 million Waimea dam project is go.

After a lively six-hour meeting yesterday, Tasman district councillors voted 9-5 to proceed with the controversial proposal to construct a 53m concrete-faced rockfill dam in the Lee Valley.

The council will have a joint-venture partner in the project – Waimea Irrigators Ltd (WIL). A council-controlled organisation, Waimea Water Ltd, will deliver it. Five of Waimea Water’s seven directors have already been appointed.

WIL strategic adviser John Palmer, who was in the chamber for the vote, said relief was his primary feeling.

‘‘Sufficient people had been prepared to not only judge the facts and put all the emotion and rhetoric to one side but to judge the facts and to judge it on the basis of what is in the best long-term interests for the district,’’ Palmer said.

‘‘The thing that’s driven me is that I just think this is so critical for the future of the district and for my grandchildren and their grandchildren that I am absolutely certain that people will look back, probably even in 20 years, and say, ‘What a great decision that was."

(The Nelson Mail, Saturday 1 December 2018)

Thought for the Week