Waimate dispute resolved

AL WILLIAMS
Last updated 05:00 13/02/2014

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A long-standing dispute between businessman Keith Williams and the Waimate District Council has come full circle.

They have reached an agreement after the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment entered into mediation with them.

Mr Williams has agreed to carry out building work and the council will finalise building regulatory matters by providing a certificate of acceptance, but at a price.

The legal wrangle has cost the council upwards of $290,000, and an estimated $200,000 for Mr Williams, although he has won $146,000 in costs via the courts.

The dispute began in 2010 when he was charged with failing to apply for a certificate of acceptance and failing to comply with a notice to fix when he carried out "urgent" work on his garage.

The case was thrown out of court last year after it was found council chief executive Tony Alden did not have the delegated authority to lay charges.

Mr Williams sought costs and was awarded $80,000 in June in the Timaru District Court and, following a High Court appeal, a further $66,300.

In the High Court decision Justice Dobson was critical of former council building inspector Angie Leckey for not accepting the work had been carried out under urgency, issuing a stop-work notice, and saying Mr Williams needed a consent to fix.

The MBIE confirmed it had been involved in helping to mediate a "sensible resolution to this dispute".

"Mr Williams has agreed to do some building work and the council has agreed to close out the building regulatory matters by providing a certificate of acceptance, which will mean he has met his obligations under the Building Act," an MBIE spokesperson said.

"It's exactly what we've been asking for all along; let us finish our work and put our code of acceptance in," Mr Williams said.

"The argument has come full circle; it's been an outcome we've been pushing for all along," he said.

Waimate Mayor Craig Rowley said the council was more than happy with the agreement because the issue "has been hanging over us too long; it's a sensible outcome for both parties".

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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