Illegal homes allowed to stay

By Kieran Nash

Photo / Chris Skelton
Photo / Chris Skelton

A builder has been fined thousands of dollars for putting up a holiday home on a remote island without consent - but it won't be removed.

Colin Wade built the three-bedroom bach on Rakino, an island in Auckland's Hauraki Gulf, last year.

He also helped build a sleepout-style home without building consent for neighbour Arnna Alexander's $880,000 property on South Pacific Rd.

Alexander was dragged into court proceedings that ended last month with the pair jointly fined almost $13,000 for breaching the building code.

Auckland Council laid charges against Wade after he built the plywood bach on his $510,000 section on Ocean View Cres.

Council central building control manager Tim Weight said the sentence sent a "strong message" to owners and builders that they couldn't build without consent "and get away with it".

Weight said Alexander made her building code-compliant as soon as she became aware there was a problem, but Wade hadn't.

Although Wade wouldn't have to tear down his bach, the building wouldn't comply with the Building Act, potentially lowering its value and making it harder to insure, said Weight.

Wade supplied photos of his work throughout the build and said it wasn't practical to wait one or two weeks for a building inspector, especially with the windy weather on the island.

"Knowing how the council works they didn't want to come out and inspect the house."

He said 90 per cent of the buildings on the island had no paperwork and it made "no difference whatsoever" whether builders got consent.

"If they're going to build a house out there they're going to build it."

Weight denied the council would approve a building consent based on photos, saying people needed consent before they started work.

Both Alexander and Wade lived and work in Auckland.

Alexander said she was put in contact with Wade because she had never built before.

"He told us the process that you need to go through to build on the island and got us into the situation. There's not a lot of goodwill between the builder and I."

Her barrister Jeremy Brabant said rather than making an example of a few individuals, the council should do more checks on the island and "perform their enforcement in a consistent way".

But Weight said it was "not realistic" to check all properties in remote areas and the council acted mainly on complaints.

Rakino is a 2.4km long, 150-hectare island that was the site of former governor Sir George Grey's first island property before he moved to Kawau.

It is home to fewer than 100 dwellings, most of them holiday homes.

- Herald on Sunday

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