Council backs down on cribs policy

NEIL RATLEY
Last updated 05:00 26/02/2013

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A backlash from crib owners at Coopers Creek and Oreti Beach has forced a rethink from the Invercargill City Council on the Draft Sandy Point Management Plan.

A change to policy wording in the draft plan raised the ire of crib owners who fronted the council's infrastructure and services committee to argue their case.

The draft plan states "permission will not be granted for replacement if the building was destroyed by fire or any other natural disaster".

However, after hearing the crib owners' concerns, the council voted to remove that section of the draft plan.

Crib owners Robert McMurdo and Kerry Hapuku said the wording had not appeared in previous Sandy Point management plans.

Speaking at the council meeting they said they were at a loss to understand why it had been added.

Crib owners had spent tens of thousands of dollars acquiring their properties, maintaining and insuring them, and the policy would directly affect owners' insurance premiums, value and resale of the cribs.

Brian and Kathleen McDonagh, who own a crib at Coopers Creek, said when they bought their crib they understood that if it were destroyed by any disaster,they could rebuild with their insurance.

"It is a basic human right to rebuild a home that has been destroyed and this right should continue to apply to residents of Coopers Creek and Oreti Beach," Mrs McDonagh said.

Council chief executive Richard King said cribs at Sandy Point became an issue for the council when the land became a recreational reserve in 1992.

The council caused problems for itself by not making policy regarding cribs part of the original management plan, he said.

Because cribs at Oreti Beach and Cooper's Creek were not considered essential for the management or the recreational use of the park, or for the enhancement of the public's enjoyment of the park, the council tried to change its policy to fit in with reserve regulations in the new plan.

After hearing submissions and a committee discussion, Mr King said in a practical sense, the Sandy Point Management Plan did not need to say destroyed cribs could not be replaced.

Cr Norman Elder said there was no reason for the destruction clause and it was not fair to penalise people whose homes were destroyed.

Mr King agreed the current policy was not the fault of crib owners and the council had to act reasonably.

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