Having been invited to visit a building site in Mangere Bridge on Monday morning mayoral candidate Craig Lord has been given a tour that has raised a lot of questions about the systems inside Auckland Council's building consent department.
I’m unsure if they are simply inept or corrupt” Lord stated after leaving the site.
“We have an excavation of two neighbouring properties by a builder/developer that is clearly breaching the rules. Council staff have been out to inspect, agreed, and done nothing about it. So why not? Are they just passing the buck? It lends itself to the situation of them either being incapable of handling the job that ratepayers pay them to do, or for some hidden reasons they don’t want to remedy the problem. Makes you wonder if friends in the right places is the case here.”
Lord understands it can get technical and could be more a civil issue with the builder and contractors rather than Council, but at the same time he believes the Council staff directly involved with this need to step up and do their jobs properly.
“I guarantee you that if this was happening to their own property, they would deal with it within hours. The contractors wouldn’t be able to blink - but because it’s just a random member of the public, well, I guess they’ll get around to taking some action one day maybe.”
Given the issues are into months not days, it has put unnecessary stress and mental anguish on Bill Herbert the property owner, with another neighbour Michelle Hohepa having to step in to help.
“They’ve removed Bill’s fence without asking, erected a construction fence on Bill’s property without asking, and they’ve excavated underneath his property” she explained. “The shed is on the edge of the newly created hole ready to fall in, and there are fresh cracks in Bill’s house. What has the Council done? Nothing.”
The builders claim they are working to the plans even though they know the plans are wrong. Lord spoke with a close colleague who is involved in property development and was informed that this is nothing new.
“He told me straight up that there are plenty of contractors and builders who flaunt the rules and worry about it later, they’ll even present flawed plans - because Council don’t follow up properly. I find that disturbing and it’s just added another department to my inquisition list.”
The neighbours have even approached Fair Go who didn’t want to follow up on the story - it seems they know that going up against the Council is not in the best interests of the show.
“Bill and Michelle have given me the names of those at Council who are in manager and supervisor roles and have done nothing but send it around in circles. They are now on my radar. These people are paid big dollars by ratepayers to serve ratepayers - I think they need to be reminded of this. I’m quite happy to do that for Aucklanders as a whole.”
Lord has told them that they need to pursue a ‘cease and desist’ notice on the builders so they can force Council into action. Michelle has advised that she is needing to set up a givealittle page to cover legal costs, costs that should not be required if Council were doing their jobs correctly.