A slip-damaged Ōmokoroa home which is teetering on the edge of a cliff is set to be replaced by a small community reserve. Sandra Conchie has talked to a senior council manager and sought community feedback about the watershed decision.
The demolition of an "eyesore" Ōmokoroa home damaged in a major slip, which is set to be replaced by a small reserve and lookout, has been given the community's seal of approval.
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That's the reaction from a longstanding Ōmokoroa resident who asked not to be named.
"I am happy this is finally going to happen. The property has stood empty for such a long time and it's an eyesore. Empty buildings are no good for anyone," the resident said.
Gary Allis, Western Bay of Plenty District Council's infrastructure services group manager, said the home, set to be demolished at 37 McDonnell St, was damaged in major slips during the cyclonic storms Debbie and Cook in April 2017.
A major slip tore out the back yards of both 37 and 39 McDonnell St, leaving the house at number 37 teetering over the edge of a 30 metre-high slip above the sea, he said
Allis said the house lost its wastewater and water utilities but was otherwise intact.
Following the storm, the council deemed the house too dangerous to live in under the Building Act.
Subsequently, the Earthquake Commission paid out about 25 per cent of capital property value but the house insurer declined to pay compensation, he said.
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Allis said the council bought the house in March this year for $1 after being approached by the previous owner frustrated by their "intransigent" insurance company.
"Ultimately the owner wanted to leave New Zealand," he said.
Allis said the total cost of the demolition and other works was about $50,000, which would be sourced from the council's reserves budget.
"Once the house is gone, the remnant land will be top soiled, re-grassed and fenced off - at full cost to the council," he said.
Allis said the council opted to buy the house and turn the land into a reserve as once a house is abandoned, it would have to deal with the residual structure.
The house will be demolished once there was a sufficient period of fine weather, he said.
Allis said the house at 39 McDonnell St had also been red-stickered by the council as it was deemed too dangerous to live in and that situation continues.
"The owner's private insurance company is having another look at the case. But as it is a private matter the council is not involved," he said.
Kaimai ward councillor Murray Grainger, who is a council representative on the Omokoroa Community Board, said the move was a "sensible and reasonable" solution.
"Particularly given nothing can be rebuilt on the land and turning it into a reserve for the community is a positive response to a bad situation," he said.
Allis said there were no future plans by the council to become involved in further slips on private property.
Council will assess the need for repair of coastal erosion resulting in slips on its own property in accordance with its Coastal Erosion Response Policy, he said.