Me­di­a­tion hope in rest home row

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

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.’’

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