Life's a beach again for Paekakariki property owners

KAY BLUNDELL
Last updated 05:00 20/12/2013
coastal hazard lines
CAMERON BURNELL/ Fairfax NZ

CHRISTMAS PRESENT: Paekakariki couple Rochelle Wilson and Stephen Lewis are delighted the coastal hazard lines have been removed from their beachfront cottage in Marine Parade. 

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The owners of a Paekakariki beachfront property are celebrating a "wonderful early Christmas present" after contentious coastal hazard lines were removed from their Lim report.

Rochelle Wilson and Stephen Lewis's cottage in Marine Pde was among 1800 coastal properties whose values and insurance premiums were badly hit when Kapiti Coast District Council placed predicted 50 and 100-year shorelines on the Lims more than a year ago.

Mr Lewis was in the middle of replacing a deck when the hazard lines were announced. "I couldn't help thinking every nail I was driving in was a waste of money," he said. "It has been a year of concern for many people."

Now he hopes the council's removal of the lines will reinstate the previous value of their home.

Dr Wilson said: "It was utterly ridiculous to place straight lines holus bolus along the entire coastline. Some houses are low, some are high, there are places where there are seawalls and roads, yet all the properties were treated the same."

Some properties in Plimmerton and Petone were extremely low-lying, but their councils had not placed hazard lines on Lims and affected property values, Mr Lewis said. "I hate the idea Kapiti Coast is somehow seen as a dangerous place to live."

Coastal Ratepayers' United, which fought the hazard lines, calculated they caused a 25 per cent fall in property values, amounting to a loss of about $400 million along the prime coastal real estate strip.

Tommy's Kapiti real estate agent John Sinnett said the lines definitely affected values. "Market values are partly driven by confidence in the market. There was a dampening in demand and values.

"The perception was based on an authority creating this. We will look back in hindsight and see the reasonings and workings were wrong.

"The confidence is starting to come back, common sense is starting to prevail.

"We lost common sense for a while because we got scared and put trust in authorities, when in reality that trust was misguided," Mr Sinnett said.

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- The Dominion Post

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