who should pay?
City Council’s financial committee considering three payment options
How many people should pay for a seawall in Napier’s Westshore? 12 or 62,000? Napier City Council’s long and complicated plan to build a revetment, or a seawall, in Whakarire Ave to stop coastal erosion is finally picking up steam.
The question the council is asking is whether the project should be paid for by all of Napier, or by the tiny number of local residents who will seemingly benefit from it.
Whakarire Ave resident Simon Tremain said he did not want the seawall to go ahead and did not want see rates increases to cover it.
“From our side, we’re very happy with how it is right now,” Tremain said.
“I’ve been on my site, I bought it in 1998, I’ve been there 20 years, and there has been no erosion of our site.”
The seawall plan has had a troubled history, with council failing three times to gain resource consent.
Work on the wall was meant to begin last year, but was stopped due to costs.
Now the council is deciding how to fund it, with three options to be discussed at the council’s financial committee meeting on Tuesday.
The three options are first, spreading the costs equally across Napier. That would increase rates about $6 per annum per house. Option two is to increase rates based on land value, regardless of proximity to the coast.
Under this plan, houses with higher land value would pay for the greater proportion of the total cost.
The third option would see rate increases targeting houses specifically in Whakarire Avenue and Westshore more broadly.
This option is split into two options.
One would see annual rates for the Whakarire properties affected increase by $ 6292, other Westshore properties increase by $84, and general rates across Napier by $1.
The other would see Whakarire rates increased by $378, other Westshore properties by $61 and general rates across Napier by $4.
Another Whakarire resident, Judith Tindall, said she felt let down by the council.
She said it had originally said there was funding for the project, and shouldn’t be asking if residents should fork out for the bill.
Erosion occurs naturally, and the council confirmed properties in the area were not either causing, or exacerbating the problem.
Funding had been made available for the project as part of the council’s long term plan, and only became available in July 2018, the start of the financial year.
The seawall currently protecting the coast from erosion.