Tainui to take advice on liability over slip

DANIEL ADAMS
Last updated 10:10 10/12/2012

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Tainui Group Holdings is balking at funding major riverbank slip repairs on land it owns beneath its Inland Revenue building in central Hamilton.

A staff report due before councillors this week outlines stalled talks with the company over fixing a significant slip on land it owns beneath Bryce St.

Council legal advisers Tompkins Wake have told staff the courts would likely back the city council's position that it has no liability for repairing the slip.

TGH, while leaving the door open for further talks, refuses to contribute towards stabilising repairs it wants, costed at $500,000, the report says.

However TGH chief executive Mike Pohio said that the company was still completing its review of the situation and was determining its obligations.

"We haven't completed our work. We received the report, we've got our own work to do, which includes some form of cross-validation of the geotechnical assessment that's been made. We just need to assure ourselves from a legal position, as a fee simple landowner, just where we stand," said Mr Pohio.

"This is not a new matter, we know that, and this is the second iteration or exchange we've had with council. We want to make an informed decision."

In July last year a slip on Tainui-owned land between Claudelands Bridge and Bryce St closed the council riverside walkway before a second slip just five months later on council land further north closed more of the river walkway.

A major investigation by engineers Tonkin & Taylor, commissioned by the council, has recommended three remediation options to stabilise the slips.

The council has already budgeted $580,000 for slip repairs on its land which engineers have costed at $440,000, and staff have recommended that the council tell Tainui it does not consider itself liable for work on TGH's land.

The engineering assessment has concluded that if nothing is done to stabilise the larger slip on TGH's land, a Vector gas main, the walkway and supporting works and the Inland Revenue building drive were at risk of further slippage.

Council's lawyers have said they believe the courts would find that TGH had a duty of care to act to prevent any risk to adjacent landowners from the slip.

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- Waikato Times

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