Far North animal rescue advocate Donna Badorek (aka Donna Doolittle) is "infuriated and upset" after receiving more Far North District Council demands for compliance on her property.
The Kaitaia veterinary nurse, who runs Donna Doolittle's Animal Rescue at Peria, has received numerous letters from the council stating that she must obtain a resource consent for her and her mother's tiny homes after someone reported them to the authorities. The latest letter came on February 11, saying earthworks carried out at the property were also in breach of the district plan.
Badorek now has to obtain a resource consent or restore the property to its original state, despite the council giving her a $6500 infrastructure grant in September so she could tidy up the land in order to erect kennels and a cat enclosure.
"At the moment we're still working through the list of things that need to be done," she said.
"But they keep throwing more stuff at us. It's really incredibly upsetting."
Badorek and mother, Jacqueline, sold their homes several years ago and bought a piece of land at Peria so they could build a larger kennel complex to rescue more animals. Most of the money from their house sales went into the 4.5ha block, with "a bit left over" to put two small roofs over their own heads.
Badorek, who put a 28 square metre tiny home on the site, with her mother living nearby in a 48 square metre container home, said she had had rehomed more than 2000 animals, saving many of them from ending up in the council pound.
"I'm helping the council so much, and working to clean up the streets of Kaitaia so we can reduce the amount of neglect and abuse," she said.
"I'm taking in so much of what would probably go through their doors.
"The council are failing us. I want them to step up and acknowledge what we've done for our community and help us get through this."
FNDC district services general manager Dean Myburgh said the council valued highly the animal rescue work undertaken by Badorek, and the social good she provided, but the district plan, the Building and Resource Management Acts applied to all property owners equally.
"The council's role is to apply those rules," he said.
"It would never be appropriate for the council to base decisions solely on an individual's contributions to the community, good or bad."
Badorek said she would need thousands of dollars to comply with 19 requirements, including resource consents, site visits, earthworks, and approval for her composting toilet.
She was thankful for the "phenomenal" community support she was receiving, including offers of help from architects and planners. A Givealittle page had raised $8350 in the last two weeks.
"That money will help us get the resource consent done and lodge it with the council," she said, but the most expensive issues were the requirements of the Building Act.
Any money left over would "go straight into helping animals," she said, but she still questioned why she had to meet so many conditions when she had two tiny homes on 4ha of land.
Last year Building and Construction Minister Jenny Salesa scrapped building consents for low-risk building work to free up the construction sector for higher-value work to help the Covid-19 recovery, meaning detached single-storey buildings up to 30 square metres did not require a council-approved building consent.
Myburgh said applications to build more than one dwelling (a stand-alone home with bathroom and kitchen facilities) on one site were reviewed against the requirements of the district plan to determine the need for a resource consent, however.
"In this instance there is more than one dwelling, and potentially a breach of district plan rules," he said.
Te Hiku ward councillor Felicity Foy said she would work with Badorek to "get these issues resolved," but she didn't think the council was being unfair. When someone made a complaint, the council was obliged to investigate.
"I will have a meeting with staff to work through those matters, and will address matters in the letter that relate to the Building Act," she said however.
"As an elected member I recognise those things she does for the community. "It's not a good situation when she does so much for the community," she added.