Business bulldozed, owner fights on

KAY BLUNDELL
Last updated 05:00 15/01/2014
Murray Livingstone
ROSS GIBLIN/FAIRFAX NZ

DISMAYED: Murray Livingstone watched as his former home and business were bulldozed to make way for the Kapiti Expressway. 

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A garden centre in the path of the Kapiti Expressway has been demolished before its former owner has reached a compensation agreement for it.

Murray Livingstone ran Livingstone Garden Centre, on the corner of State Highway 1 and Poplar Ave in Raumati South, for 20 years.

Two acres of the four-acre property were taken under the Public Works Act about six months ago, including his home and business building, which were demolished yesterday.

"I am appalled by the loss of my business before we have reached an agreement," he said.

"I have lost my business, home and income. I feel I have been treated unfairly, will never have the equivalent of what I had."

NZTA had offered him advance compensation, he said, but it was only about a third of his valuer's figure.

He planned to re-establish his business on the land he had retained, but said he would have to wait four years for construction of the southern entrance of the expressway to be completed.

He had received payment for some of his stock, but said he could not access the remainder of his outdoor plants.

His remaining land was off nearby Leinster Ave, but he said he did not have the money to develop access to it.

NZTA's Wellington highways manager Rod James confirmed Mr Livingstone's property had been compulsorily acquired for the expressway project, and that no compensation amount had yet been agreed.

The agency understood Mr Livingstone had not submitted a formal objection to the acquisition.

Mr James also said an advance payment remained on offer, and "if accepted, this would be paid immediately to him and would in no way compromise his ability to negotiate for a higher price or to ultimately have the price determined by the Land Valuation Tribunal".

"He has chosen not to accept this offer."

The agency remained committed to reaching a resolution, Mr James said, and that could include arrangements for him to visit his stock using his former land as a short cut.

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- The Dominion Post

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