Fired-up, mystery builder defies council
The builder of a ramshackle structure below high water mark inside Nelson's Boulder Bank has thumbed his nose at the Nelson City Council and kept on building after being told he has to pull it down.
By yesterday morning he'd put on a multi-coloured iron roof and he worked throughout the day.
He also turned nasty, shouting obscenities and abuse and throwing stones towards a Nelson Mail photographer taken out in a small boat to get some fresh pictures.
The ball is back in the council's court. Its two-week abatement notice said the structure, largely built of pallets, had to come down by yesterday. When a council staff member issued the notice after being ferried across in a boat, the man refused to identify himself.
"Our next step under the Resource Management Act 1991 is to seek an enforcement order for its removal from the Environment Court. We are also looking at other options under other legislation in conjunction with the Department of Conservation," said communications adviser Nan Ward.
The building is a platform on four legs and now has walls and a doorway, and is close to the most northern of the Boulder Bank's historic baches.
Yesterday morning an Atawhai resident was watching the scene through a telescope and said a 5-6 metre launch and a small inflatable boat were tied up and the man, estimated to be in his late 40s or early 50s, was hard at work.
"He's trimming things off with a saw and throwing bits of wood into the water."
The roof, made of different coloured sheets of iron, was completed and the man looked to be putting on plastic spouting.
"The componentry's fairly simple but it actually looks fairly well built," the man said. He could see a door, and what looked like steps from the water, and a dog in the boat.
Two weeks ago a Facebook posting by someone under the name Ben Pearce claimed the structure was "an art project" but the Atawhai watcher said: "There's nothing arty about it at all - not even close."
Another observer later confirmed that the man was still working in the afternoon when the tide had receded, with his dog visible on the Boulder Bank. That's when the Mail went visiting and was told to go away in no uncertain terms.
The construction was drawn to harbourmaster Dave Duncan's attention over a month ago and it has concerned the Nelson Rowing Club, which has training in the area.
Yesterday, Captain Duncan repeated his earlier comment that the structure was a hazard to navigation. "It's particularly dangerous at night-time, so it's going to have to come down," he said.
The first story about it drew hundreds of comments on Facebook and on the Fairfax website stuff.co.nz, most supportive and some using it as a platform for humour.
"Looks crate to me," said one.
- © Fairfax NZ News