Unsafe seawall gets two more years

TRACEY CHATTERTON
Last updated 10:37 01/08/2014
Hastings seawall
MARTY SHARPE/FAIRFAX NZ

FIVE-YEAR-SAGA: Mark Lawrence, his partner Tracey Olver, and their son Jackson beside the seawall Lawrence built at Haumoana in Hasitngs, in 2009.

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An unsafe seawall that was supposed to be removed is now allowed to stand for a further two years.

The Haumoana man fighting to keep the wall protecting his family home from rising seas has been given a reprieve after Hastings District Council's demands to fix it or pull it down.

Mark Lawrence has been debating the legality of the wall with local councils for the past five years. He insists he was maintaining an existing wall on the site that had collapsed.

But he was told in 2009 that he was building an illegal wall, and was slapped with a $3000 fine for breaching the Building Act.

The Department of Building and Housing upheld the council's decision to refuse a certificate of acceptance because the wall was not structurally safe.

In September 2012, the council ordered that the wall either be brought up to a higher standard or pulled down by March this year.

Lawrence failed to do either, despite the council threatening to fine him up to $200,000 and a further $20,000 for every day he failed to comply.

The regional council and district council recently granted the wall resource consent, but this did not consider whether it was structurally sound or met the building standards. The seawall must still comply with the building code.

Lawrence has said he cannot afford to fix the wall or remove it.

The council has given him more time, issuing a second notice to fix, which must be met by May 2016.

Council building consents manager Malcom Hart said the Building Act specified a strict procedure to follow in such cases, which it had done.

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- The Dominion Post

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