Huge repair bill looms for Bay apartments

By John Cousins

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Repairs costing tens of millions of dollars will be needed to weatherproof up to 137 apartments in two Tauranga retirement villages.

Ocean Shores Village and its Maranui Street neighbour Bayswater Retirement Village have been hit by leaky building problems on their multi-storey apartment blocks.

While the repairs will inconvenience the elderly residents, the good news is that they will not have to pay to have their apartments fixed because they paid a licence to occupy and do not own their units outright.

Repairs to the two apartment blocks at Ocean Shores mean that the residents will be temporarily re-housed at the Anchorage Apartments at Mount Maunganui for about four months. Lend Lease commercial manager David Payne said the work would be undertaken in two stages, one block at a time, and should be finished by Christmas.

The 84 apartments at Ocean Shores housed 76 residents. Mr Payne said the residents had access to a specialist if anyone had concerns for their health. "We are not aware of any residents with health concerns."

Metlifecare was unable to give a detailed breakdown of the situation facing it at Bayswater at short notice yesterday, but said they were not dealing with typical weathertightness issues as understood by most people.

"This is a tilt slab concrete building and the primary issue is with regard to the waterproofing of the balconies," the company said in a statement.

Bayswater residents committee chairman Sid Reid said that it was not costing the residents a bean and it was only the inconvenience they would have to put up with.

"From our point of view, we are being pretty well looked after," Mr Reid said.

The Bay of Plenty Times understands residents will continue to live on site at Bayswater while the repairs take place. The apartments leak when rain comes in from a specific quarter, whereas Ocean Shores' problems are more complex.

Ocean Shores residents' committee chairwoman Nia Marx said she lived in the newer of the blocks and was not as badly affected by weathertightness issues. Work would begin on the first block next month, with the repairs involving the roof and the cladding.

Mrs Marx said she could not speak highly enough of their Australian-based owner Lend Lease, who was also meeting the cost to temporarily rehouse residents in the Anchorage's furnished apartments.

She lives on the top floor of the newer apartment block and expected to shift out in July. Mrs Marx said it was pretty common knowledge that the buildings had been leaking virtually from when they were built.

They had been trying to get something done ever since she had arrived about 10 years ago but the last owner "went bust" and residents were relieved that Lend Lease had a strong balance sheet.

Mrs Marx recalled the day she needed five buckets to catch the drips during one storm. Lend Lease had responded by doing enough to stop the leaks in the meantime. "But there's nothing to say it won't start again."

However, the problems had not been enough to put off some residents. She said five people had moved in knowing they would have to shortly move out.

Mrs Marx said the residents' committee had been working with Lend Lease for about three years to get the rebuild to this point.

Mrs Marx said the final repair bill was an unknown but residents speculated that it would be more than $10 million.


 

- Bay of Plenty Times

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