Double Wammy for Beach Ratepayers by John Brown

First we were told about 14 months ago that some parts of the settlement would be inundated by the sea in the next 100 years.
Last month Waikawa residents found out that the council were proposing to change the method of assessing rates from using an undeveloped land value to a capital value.
These two events must cause concern to many Waikawa ratepayers.
At a public meeting last year Tony Thomas from HDC assured us that no final decision had been made on what would happen to HDC issued LIM reports pending a decision in a case then before the court on a similar matter at Kapiti. It subsequently transpired that the court in the Kapiti decision was critical of the local council in the way it had dumped information about the coastal hazards into LIM reports which would seriously affect the value and marketability of those properties. It added that it would be a callous council indeed that was unmindful of that impact and that many of the important conditions and assumptions were not obvious in the photos or diagrams. It also noted that the council had failed in its duty of care to adopt the legal requirements to have an open mind especially in not stating that the report was open to scientific challenge.
However a recently purchased LIM for a property at Waikawa included reference to the report including detailed maps of the inundation zone. The shareholder had never been informed of the council intention to include parts of the report nor given the opportunity to dispute what some may call a political myth or fairy tale and highlights an example of decision making by staff rather than elected officers.
Many have assumed that a LIM report would contain a factual description of the land and the buildings on it and not predictions of 100 years in the future based on dubious scientific theory.
A property which has been identified may not be worth anything if it cannot be sold. Will the rates then reduce to zero? The contents a LIM report must also be reported to your insurance company who may refuse insurance or may go the practical way and say myths and fairy tales predicting the future are of no interest to them.
Horizons Council paid for the Tonkin and Taylor report presumably from rates. The firm was not only criticised in Kapiti but also in New Brighton, Christchurch because of the methodology used. It will be interesting to see if Horizons or Horowhenua District Council are prepared to pay for another report which could have contrary views. Maybe affected Waikawa ratepayers should seek the services of a clairvoyant to produce a report which should also be included in LIM reports. There is an urgent need for HDC to contact all affected ratepayers to discuss the attachment of this information in the LIM report.
The big winners of the proposed rating changes are Levin ratepayers at the expense of Waikawa ratepayers, some of who will experience rate rises of over $500 and for what. Frequent power cuts, services such as swimming pools and libraries that most do not use, inferior beach access, a village overrun by rabbits, no stormwater drains and we haven’t heard yet what surprise Horizons Council are planning for us.
Our AGM on 27 December could be a lively affair.

3 thoughts on “Double Wammy for Beach Ratepayers by John Brown”

  1. I was astonished to read the unattributed
    piece called Double whammy for Waikawa Beach ratepayers. I can
    understand that people are concerned about the effects on property
    valuations of the Council putting inundation zone info on LIM reports.
    However the technique of simply applying labels such as ‘political
    myth’ and ‘fairy tale’ to a scientific report as a ploy to discredit
    it insults our intelligence.

    Anyone who has kept their eyes and ears open over the last decade or
    two is aware that the consensus over hundred of thousands of peer
    reviewed studies is that our climate is changing and that sea level
    rise is not only highly likely but inevitable. The scientific theory
    referred to is hardly ‘dubious’. Like all theories though it is open
    to challenge and it would be interesting to see results from a
    scientific study which did in fact contradict the report the Council
    has accepted.

    It is responsible of the Council to think and plan ahead and it is
    definitely to their credit that they have commissioned a scientific
    study.

    Miraz Jordan

  2. I for one accept climate change predictions and the probability or certainty of rising sea levels; the only question to me is ‘how fast’ and ‘how high’. A rise of maybe 0.5 metre will seriously affect my property, although hopefully not for about 50 years, based on the most recently reported predictions (around 30cm over 50 years).

    However I also agree with John Browns’ essential point:
    – Should Council record anything on LIM reports?
    – If moving everyone to CV based rates, what impact will the LIM reports have on reducing or crashing CVs?
    And I agree with Miraz Jordon’s essential point:
    – it is the responsibility of Council to plan ahead.
    I should point out, I understand Council used the same reports that Kapiti Council used; Kapiti Council were challenged through the courts, and as I understand it, had to back down, remove the detail from LIM reports, and make only fleeting reference to potential inundation hazards.

    In moving to CV rating, the ‘consultation’ material proposed a new storm water rating across the district. I replied to the consultation material asking:


    Fifth Objection: Council intent to apply a “new Stormwater Rate” on CV to all urban properties.
    This will clearly mean property owners – absentee property owners of expensive holiday homes – will pay a significantly higher Stormwater Rate than low-CV rated properties in Levin.
    (1) Could HDC summarise recent Stormwater (flooding) issues in urban Waikawa Beach vis-à-vis other localities throughout the District?
    (2) Could HDC explain what Stormwater systems (drains) are in place in urban Waikawa Beach?
    (3) Can HDC confirm that this proposed Stormwater Rate covers prevention measures (i.e. containment) to prevent Waikawa Stream from bursting its banks within urban Waikawa Beach, as a result of storm water-flow?
    (4) Can HDC likewise confirm that this proposed Stormwater Rate covers prevention measures (i.e. containment) to prevent Waikawa Stream from bursting its banks within rural Manakau / Waikawa Beach?
    (5) Can HDC confirm that this proposed Stormwater Rate covers Coastal Storm-surge damage prevention?
    (6) Can HDC confirm that this proposed Stormwater Rate safeguards against rising sea-level resultant on Climate change?

    Naturally, HDC have not replied.

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