Waimate wall battle goes on

A legal battle that has cost Waimate ratepayers more than $50,000 is set to continue.

Waimate District Council called a special meeting yesterday to discuss the case that was thrown out of Timaru District Court.

The issue dates back nearly two years and resulted in the council taking civil action against Keith Williams and his company Glenkeith Industries.

Judge Joanna Maze dismissed the case after it was found the council's chief executive, Tony Alden, did not have the delegated authority to lay charges.

Mr Williams claims he and his company were each charged with failing to apply for a certificate of acceptance and failing to comply with a notice to fix after he carried out "urgent" work on his garage, known as Dash's Garage, on the corner of Innes and High streets in Waimate. This followed a wall becoming unstable in December 2010.

After advice from an engineer, Mr Williams authorised work to fix the wall, before a stopwork notice was issued. This was the beginning of a lengthy battle with the council. Details cannot be outlined as Mr Williams has made an application to the court to recover costs.

The Herald was asked to leave the council meeting yesterday when Mayor John Coles recommended the public be excluded under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act.

On leaving the council chambers, Mr Coles told The Herald the case had been passed on to the Department of Building and Housing.

He said all documents that the council had pertaining to the case had been forwarded to the department and councillors had asked Mr Alden to get costings.

"Sometimes these things get a bit hearsay.

"Nothing has been resolved yet. We had two options and we're trying to resolve it this way," Mr Coles said.

"Mr Williams has been asked to do the same as us [furnish full information] for them to make a resolution.

"Enough money has been spent on this and we will look at trying to resolve it with minimum cost."

Mr Williams said he had no comment.

The Timaru Herald