Neigh­bours rock­ing mayor’s boat pro­ject

The New Zealand Herald - - News -

Whanganui’s mayor and his wife have up­set some ratepay­ers with an ex­per­i­men­tal build­ing pro­ject tak­ing shape be­side the Whanganui River.

Ar­chi­tect Eli­nor Har­vey McDouall and her hus­band Hamish are try­ing to turn a boat hull into a tiny house, of­fer­ing lux­ury ac­com­mo­da­tion.

McDouall re­grets she hasn’t con­sulted the neigh­bours — but said that wasn’t a usual re­quire­ment for a per­son build­ing a house.

A cou­ple liv­ing next door — and eight other house­holds — are dis­ap­pointed they weren’t con­sulted.

“If it was me . . . I would’ve had con­sid­er­a­tion for the neigh­bours,” Pu­tiki res­i­dent Wanda McGrail said.

She and her hus­band, Tony, have penned a let­ter, which the other eight house­holds have also signed.

The McGrails say it’s a com­mer­cial en­ter­prise and they want Whanganui Dis­trict Coun­cil to “clar­ify how this is con­sid­ered a per­mit­ted ac­tiv­ity”.

McDouall said: “It didn’t oc­cur to me to con­sult, but I really wish that I had done.”

Wanda McGrail said there was a lot of noise and vi­bra­tion in mid-Oc­to­ber when six steel col­umns were driven into the ground to sup­port beams for the house to rest on.

“It shook our house for a full day. I couldn’t be out­side.”

McDouall said noise was usual dur­ing con­struc­tion. Her con­trac­tor has told her neigh­bours there has never been an is­sue with the method used to drive in the col­umns.

In re­sponse to the claim it’s a com­mer­cial pro­ject, McDouall said Airbnb ac­com­mo­da­tion was a new thing and still a “grey area” where con­sent was con­cerned.

“Most Airbnb places have no con­sent or per­mis­sions.”

Res­i­dents who signed the McGrails’ let­ter worry the tiny house will mean more traf­fic and vis­i­tors to their “lit­tle piece of par­adise”. But McDouall said it can only ac­com­mo­date a cou­ple and one other per­son.

“Any in­crease in traf­fic will be less than if I had built a fam­ily home.”

A mo­bile home may be parked in the drive­way dur­ing the hol­i­day pe­riod, to pro­vide se­cu­rity for the site — which didn’t please McGrail.

“We are go­ing to have camp­ing now, next door,” she said.

The build­ing is the only one the McDoualls own, apart from their house.

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