Mediation hope in rest home row
Ratepayers could face a hefty bill if a Whitby rest home stoush proceeds to the Environment Court.
Antipodes Ln residents Michael Fox and Joyce and Neville Glennie have appealed to the Environment Court over a planned extension to the BUPA-run Whitby Rest Home and Hospital behind their homes.
Porirua City Council approved the extension in January despite its many breaches of the district plan.
All parties hope the case can be resolved in mediation, but the council’s legal bills will be high if a court hearing is necessary, says David Rolfe, the council’s general manager of environment and regulatory services.
‘‘[Mediation] is a low-cost, highly effective strategy. We don’t want to go into the very costly court stage.’’
Appealing the decision has already cost residents dearly in solicitors’ fees, spokesman Mr Fox says.
They want BUPA and the council to consider an alternative design for the new rest home wing.
The one-storey building will be built on stilts above an uneven earth bank, making it the height of a two- storey building, Mr Fox says.
Levelling the bank before construction will keep neighbours happy and will give BUPA more space for car parks, he says.
‘‘What we’re saying quite simply, which has been ignored, is they should take the space upstairs and put it downstairs, and everybody would be happy,’’ Mr Fox says.
‘‘We’ve never been against them redeveloping the hospital, but they just need to take into account the real effects they’re having on those around them.’’
The council never considered alternative designs during a judicial hearing in December, Mr Fox says.
‘‘We don’t believe the council has endeavoured to mitigate the affects on the surrounding residents and community.’’
However, Mr Rolfe says no alternatives to the main application are ever considered during judicial hearings.
‘‘That’s not how it works.’’