Far North ratepayers will have to stump up for the $150,000 cost of demolishing an abandoned, asbestos-ridden fertiliser shed.

Councillors agreed at Thursday's infrastructure network committee meeting to remove the shed and a layer of contaminated topsoil at Paua, a peninsula in Parengarenga Harbour just south of Cape Reinga.

According to a council report the 350sq m bulk fertiliser shed was built in the 1970s by the Northland Fertiliser Company. The company had a 21-year lease on the land from the Northland Harbour Board, which also owned the adjacent wharf.

However, the lease expired 24 years ago and neither the Northland Fertiliser Company nor the Northland Harbour Board exist any more, leaving the current landowner — the Far North District Council — saddled with a decrepit and potentially dangerous building.


It is next to a campground owned by Parengarenga Incorporation and a council-owned wharf which is a popular fishing spot.

All four samples of cladding and debris taken by asbestos specialists Momentum Services during a February site visit tested positive for the hazardous material. Of the four soil samples taken only one, inside the shed, tested positive.

The abandoned fertiliser shed is in poor condition. Photo / Momentum Services
The abandoned fertiliser shed is in poor condition. Photo / Momentum Services

WorkSafe has also confirmed the presence of asbestos in the roof and cladding, making the shed a hazard to people in the vicinity.

Council staff recommended the building be demolished by qualified contractors with the materials disposed of at an approved landfill such as Whangārei.

A 100mm layer of soil out to 3m from the sides of the building would also have to be removed and replaced with clean topsoil.

The job was expected to cost $120,000 but because of difficulties including disposal and the remoteness of the site a contingency of $30,000 had been added.

A council spokesman said funding for the shed's removal would be included in the Annual Plan, which was due to be considered next month.

Given health and safety concerns, demolition would take place as soon as possible. It would first have to go out to tender, however, so work was expected to begin in August or September.


The shed has been fenced off and warning signs erected.

The land it was built on was previously part of the Māori-owned Parengarenga 5A1 Block.