Developers to pay for breaches

The companies behind the $100 million The Rees Hotel and Luxury Apartments have been ordered to pay more than $19,000 to the Queenstown Lakes District Council for allowing workers and contractors to park off site during construction of the development.

In a decision by Judge Jon Jackson dated November 11, SMG Properties Ltd and Beech Cove Properties Ltd were ordered to pay $19,505.54 to the council in two sets of related proceedings for "flagrantly" disregarding the terms of their consent relating to the properties owned by Beech Cove at 275-395 Frankton Rd.

The first of the proceedings was an appeal by the developers against an abatement notice that alleged the companies were not complying with a condition of their resource consent, to ensure "there are no less than 20 on-site vehicle parks available for construction-worker vehicles at the start of construction.

"This number shall increase to include the basements in buildings A and B following their completion."

The second set of proceedings was for interim enforcement orders regarding the minimum number of on-site parks and the hours in which construction could take place.

Consent was granted for the development in 2004, with construction beginning in 2007 and the complex officially opening in 2009.

Judge Jackson said the council was seeking reimbursement of 80% of its costs, which totalled $21,672.93 (excluding GST).

He said evidence showed the workers were parking "anywhere but on site" and no apparent measures were taken to enforce compliance.

The court's interim decision on the enforcement orders said the attitude of the respondents bordered "on ridiculous".

"There is no point in providing car parks and then not having construction workers use them.

"This may be a $100 million project, but that does not entitle the respondents to disregard either the neighbours' amenities or public safety."

The respondents said an award of costs was "not justified or appropriate", but Judge Jackson disagreed.

"The respondents have flagrantly disregarded the terms of their consent, hiding behind an argument based on difference in interpretation.

"Further, they appear to have persisted in the breach once the court had issued a decision granting interim enforcement orders.

"Over the past two years the respondents' actions have cost the council its time and caused it unnecessary expense in terms of experts undertaking site visits and preparing evidence to report to this court.

"I see no reason to expect the ratepayers to cover those costs."


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