Roy Monteith and Kate Courtney recognise the need for transitional/emergency housing, and have no objection per se. They are not, however, looking forward to Ahipara's Baylinks Motel, immediately adjacent to their home, being converted for that use.

They accept that they have no realistic chance of preventing the proposal being approved by the Far North District Council, however, and are now preparing their case for a compromise.

Fundamentally they argue that the complex will need 24-hour management, but they are highly critical of the planning process, and the view that Ahipara is an appropriate place for such housing.

They were also struggling earlier this week to understand why the proposal had not been fully publicly notified. Only they had been invited to submit to the independent commissioner, whose decision would be final, despite September's clear indication of widespread concern.


"It can't be right that people can't stand up and oppose this," Ms Courtney said.

They also pointed out that the housing was to be provided in a community offering no prospects for employment and without the amenities or services most people took for granted.

"What are these people going to do all day,?" Mr Monteith asked.

"We're not anti transitional housing, but this is the wrong place for it."

People, who they suspected would have "issues," would also be living in a community were many of their neighbours would be elderly, often living alone, and in many cases were nervous about what was happening.

The criteria for objection, however, were very specific, namely whether the property was suitable (which they argued it was not), residential and traffic intensity, parking and access.

There were problems with all those, along with noise, security and potential conflict (none of which were relevant to the planning process), but their concerns would be allayed, to a tolerable level, by around the clock management.

The particular issues included water. The couple, who live in what used to be the motel owner's accommodation and reception, have the water tank that services them and the motel on their property, but the bore and pump are behind lock and key on the motel site. The bore had failed twice over the previous three weeks, Mr Monteith said, and gaining access to effect repairs had been problematic. That, and the issue of vehicles potentially blocking the narrow driveway serving both properties, demanded constant oversight, he said.


The couple had not been encouraged by what they said was the unpermitted conversion of a motel garage into a unit. They had advised the council, and had been told that that it could be permitted retrospectively.

"We were told to take the matter of non-compliance up with the commissioner," Mr Monteith added.

"We're not trying to rock the boat too much, but is this proposal right for this community? And how is it that the people who will be affected have no rights?"