Man mounts rig in protest over drilling

Last updated 13:51 07/07/2014

FED UP: Ian McDonnell believes drilling work at a Golden Homes construction site is damaging his house.

MAKING A POINT: Ian McDonnell spent about an hour on the rig before the threat of arrest lured him down.

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Life is anything but golden for homeowner Ian McDonnell. 

The Christchurch father of three, who believes drilling work at a Golden Homes construction site was damaging his house, mounted a lone protest. About 7am, he climbed to the top of the construction company's pile driving rig. 

He spent about an hour on the rig, which is about 10 metres high, before the threat of arrest by police lured him down. 

"They [police] said if I came down by 8am, I wouldn't [be arrested]," he said. 

Construction on a new house next door, in Somerfield's Woodbank St, started on June 11. 

Then the foundation drilling started. McDonnell and his wife had been stressed ever since.

"The whole house just shudders with every thump," McDonnell said. "One neighbour counted 160 whacks to get one post down."

McDonnell said their water cylinder had started to leak and cracks were appearing in plaster board in recently redecorated rooms. McDonnell had contacted the Christchurch City Council, but got nowhere. 

He said the construction workers were "really nice guys" and he appreciated they had a job to do. But he said there were alternative methods of achieving the same foundation, "it's just more expensive".

Vibration testing was done on the TC2 site, but McDonnell said that was at the end furthest from their house. 

Moore Construction manager Nathan Moore, contracted for the build, said the vibration limit for the area was three to five metres per second. The testing came back at about two, he said. 

"We are coming under the legal limit for vibrations in residential areas," he said. 

Engineers would return today to test the vibrations closer to the McDonnell's house, Moore said. 

Golden Homes declined to comment. 

McDonnell said Golden Homes had told him any damage the work caused to their house of 27 years would be repaired. He wanted it in writing, and was told that would happen today, he said. 

In the meantime, work had resumed. 

The protest left McDonnell covered in grease, but at least people were now listening. "Hopefully, it will be worth it," he said. 

Sergeant Simon Mooney said police would not press charges against McDonnell.  

If he had stayed up there all day, it could "potentially" have been a different story. 

"Hopefully they can come to an amicable solution," Mooney said. 

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- The Press


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