Far North ratepayers will have to stump up with the $150,000 needed to demolish an abandoned, asbestos-ridden fertiliser shed at Paua, on Parengarenga Harbour.

The Far North District Council's infrastructure network committee last week resolved to remove the shed, and a layer of contaminated topsoil.

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

The lease expired 24 years ago, and with neither the company nor the board still in existence, the district council, as the land owner, was responsible for the 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, as did one soil samples taken from inside the shed. WorkSafe had 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 to be disposed of at an approved landfill, such as in Whangārei. A 100mm layer of soil out to three metres from the sides of the building would also have to be removed and replaced.

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

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. Demolition would have to go out to tender, with work expected to begin in August or September.