Councillor issued abatement notice

By Corey Charlton

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Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule said it was up to John Roil to determine if he had failed his responsibilities. Photo / Paul Taylor
Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule said it was up to John Roil to determine if he had failed his responsibilities. Photo / Paul Taylor

Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule is in "open dialogue" with Councillor John Roil regarding an abatement notice issued to Mr Roil by his own council.

The Hastings District Council hand delivered its abatement notice to Mr Roil on December 2 for commercial activities on his Hastings property which it deemed did not comply with the district plan.

The property was housing relocatable buildings which, in total, exceeded the maximum floor area allowed for commercial activities (125sq m). On November 4, council officers noted 13 buildings on site totalling an approximate floor area of 699sq m.

Mr Yule said yesterday there was a public expectation councillors adhered to the rules and regulations of their own council.

"I do think the public expect us to be pretty careful in how we abide by and participate in the rules and regulations that we set, and these are the conditions that the council has, and elected members have to be particularly careful around conflict of interest and perceptions."

He said it was up to Mr Roil to determine if he had failed in those responsibilities.

"He believes the council's interpretation of the rule is not being consistently applied and effectively that is why he's taking it to the Environment Court. But it is sort of never a good look when a council is taking action against one of its members.

"I'm having open dialogue with him. But I've been quite clear that the council has a responsibility to enforce the rules fairly and clearly for everyone so there is no special favours for him."

Mr Yule believed the rule was correct as it was currently written. Mr Roil said there had simply been a "breakdown in communication".

"What we're doing is just storing buildings, the EIT constructed classrooms, and they're stored on site."

He was "absolutely" appealing the abatement notice to the Environment Court and said he was willing to get a resource consent if necessary. The issue was "more about process than anything else".

It is not the first time Mr Roil has landed himself in hot water with his own council.

In December last year, he appeared in Hastings District Court when his company Cottages NZ was prosecuted by the council. He pleaded guilty to constructing a portable building without the required consents.

The latest issue came just two days after Mr Roil took part in the council's swearing-in ceremony, where he added he promised to abide by the Building Act, in reference to his court case.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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