who should pay?

City Coun­cil’s fi­nan­cial com­mit­tee con­sid­er­ing three pay­ment op­tions

Hawke's Bay Today - - Front page - Laura Wilt­shire

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.

PHOTO / DUN­CAN TAY­LOR

The seawall cur­rently pro­tect­ing the coast from ero­sion.

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