Out-of-town owner angry
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.