Boat­shed bureau­cracy

Out-of-town owner an­gry

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By MATTHEW DAL­LAS

A Christchurch-based owner of two Cam­borne boat­sheds is un­happy he had to re­turn to Porirua three times in five months to sat­isfy re­gional coun­cil in­spec­tion and com­pli­ance mat­ters.

Paul Bense­mann, for­merly of Pare­mata, owns the boat­sheds num­bered 14 and 24. Hav­ing re­turned to Porirua twice last sum­mer at the coun­cil’s be­hest to re­move stacked tim­ber from out­side the boat­sheds, he was asked to re­turn again in May for an in­spec­tion of num­ber 14.

The re­gional coun­cil in­spects boat­sheds ev­ery three years. Boat­shed 24 had been as­sessed last year but num­ber 14 had not be­cause an ac­cess key could not be found, so an in­spec­tion for May 10 was or­gan­ised.

Mr Bense­mann claims he was given only two weeks’ no­tice of the in­spec­tion, lum­ber­ing him with ex­pen­sive air­fares, and the trips were the last thing he needed while try­ing to cope with is­sues at home fol­low­ing the Christchurch earth­quakes.

When he flew up for the in­spec­tion of num­ber 14 he says he was sub­jected to a point­less ‘‘re-in­spec­tion’’ on num­ber 24 – which he be­lieves was pun­ish­ment for an ear­lier crit­i­cism of the coun­cil’s in­spec­tion process.

‘‘I to­tally agree with the coun­cil’s aims to pro­tect the har­bour environment and I want to be as co-op­er­a­tive as pos­si­ble in meet­ing re­source con­sent obli­ga­tions.

‘‘How­ever, I don’t be­lieve it’s fair to be sin­gled out in this way merely be­cause I made some pos­i­tive sug­ges­tions about im­prov­ing the in­spec­tion process, such as giv­ing those of us who live out of town more warn­ing of in­spec­tion ap­point­ments.’’

Greater Welling­ton En­vi­ron­men­tal Reg­u­la­tions man­ager Alis­tair Cross says the in­spec­tion of boat­shed 14 had to be con­ducted be­fore June 30, and this was con­veyed to Mr Bense­mann over sev­eral emails in the pre­ced­ing months.

While the in­spec­tor gave Mr Bense­mann dates for when she would be in the area, there was no ex­pec­ta­tion the in­spec­tion had to hap­pen in the nar­row time­frame claimed.

‘‘I’m quite com­fort­able he had been given the op­por­tu­nity to choose a date and time that suited him best.’’

He says be­cause Mr Bense­mann had un­der­taken work on both boat­sheds, it seemed log­i­cal to in­spect num­ber 24 at the same time as num­ber 14, and the ex­tra in­spec­tion came at no additional cost to the con­sent holder. ‘‘There was noth­ing un­to­ward about it.’’

Mr Cross says the coun­cil did not de­lib­er­ately try to make things dif­fi­cult for con­sent hold­ers, they didn’t want to make ex­tra vis­its ei­ther.

It was never easy for con­sent hold­ers who live out­side the re­gion, ‘‘but that’s the re­al­ity of it’’.

Mr Bense­mann says he has held on to the boat­sheds be­cause he has a son in Para­pa­raumu and they kayak to­gether at the in­let, but the re­cent deal­ings with the re­gional coun­cil had him ques­tion­ing whether it was worth it.

He con­ceded – in hind­sight – it would have been cheaper and less has­sle to have em­ployed some­one to re­move the tim­ber from the boat­sheds’ deck­ing than re­turn to Porirua and do it him­self.

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