Contractor ‘placing lives at risk’

Residents angered by a 45-bedroom boarding house in Birkenhead claim developers started construction illegally and are “placing people’s lives at risk”.

And Northcote MP Jonathan Coleman has publicly criticised the developers and the Auckland Council, saying the public should have been told.

Around 45 people turned up at Birkenhead Library for a meeting with Mr Coleman, Kaipatiki Local Board chairwoman Lindsay Waugh and owner-operator of the Hinemoa St boarding home Brett Cranston.

Concerns have been raised over the council’s process and the potential to attract residents with anti-social behaviour.

A neighbour says permission was never sought to block her driveway and is in breach of her rights.

One Birkenhead resident says he made a complaint to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment because of the nature of construction work at the site.

“The contractor is placing people’s lives at risk.”

Mr Coleman said at the beginning of the meeting he had “no public position” but by the end he slammed the council and Mr Cranston, saying it should have been publicly notified because there was “no upside for residents”.

It was also a lesson in “public relations”, Mr Coleman said, as Mr Cranston admitted the meeting was the first time he had ever consulted with Birkenhead residents.

Mrs Waugh also changed tack on her previous stance, saying construction work and safety on the site must now be investigated.

“The level I’m hearing today I find very disturbing.”

Mr Cranston, who runs two similar establishments in Panmure and Otahuhu, says the Scottys-branded accommodation does not accept those referred by Work and Income or any similar services.

Rumours it will become a brothel are untrue and it is marketed as “adults only” because it is not acceptable living circumstances for those under 18, he says.

Mr Cranston says the boarding home will actually have 48 rooms, despite official council reports saying 45.

He also disputed the size of the rooms, saying council’s 14 square metre size was wrong.

The boarding home has a three car park-shortfall with residents saying time-restricted on-street parking for boarding home tenants is not an option.

The council says impacts on the surrounding area “were not more than minor and therefore concluded that full public notification was not required on this occasion”.

Credits

Written by: Jess Etheridge
Published: Auckland Now / North Shore Times – 28 May 2013

Leave a comment