Simple green shed divides neighbours in small south Canterbury town

A simple green shed on the outskirts of a small south Canterbury town has seen neighbours divided, petitions signed and claims of thousands of dollars lost.

The shed, built by Michael Sherriff, houses a caravan he lives in.

But the size and scale of the building has neighbours seeing… well, a very dark shade of red.

"We didn't expect anything quite like that," said one.

"We presumed it was only going to be a normal sized shed," said another.

Mavis Pirini is most affected by the shed – she’s the closest neighbour, and she was asked to sign a consent form before the building went up.

"The biggest impact has been the loss of daylight, loss of sunlight, warmth, just a very dark place to be in now," she says.

Mavis did sign the consent form – on the basis it was 3.6 metres high.

She says she didn't see any actual plans for the shed – only a single sketch.

Now, she stares out at an enormous dark green wall that’s more than five metres high and blocks nearly all her morning sun.

"For years I've known eventually something would be built there," she says.

But she never thought it would be the shed.

The neighbour, Michael Sherriff, says he did give Mavis plans for the shed – and he doesn’t think the height was misstated.

"The height [on the consent form] is the stud height - the wall height," he said.

"This is where Mavis and I are in dispute, I gave her elevation drawings from Total Span," he says.

But the Waimate District Council doesn’t require any evidence to prove that plans have been seen - and Mavis disputes that she was given those drawings.

The Council says once Mavis signed the form, by law it wasn’t allowed to consider any effects on Mavis – even if the consent didn’t state the actual roof height.

"The Council must not have regard to any effect on a person who has given written approval to the application," it said in a statement.

Council did consider a range of other factors that Mavis and her neighbours are also unhappy about – such as the size of the shed, access to sunlight, ground coverage and boundary limits but said all the other effects it considered were 'minor'.

It says the discrepancy in the stated roof height on the plans, and what is written on the form Mavis signed, was also 'minor'.

Not so to Mavis – she’s had two opinions from real estate agents, who reckon the shed’s wiped around $40,000 off the value of her property.

Michael Sherriff doesn’t think the shed’s made any difference.

"I've built that in the worst part of the street" he says.

But the drastic change to the landscape on the street has prompted the neighbours to get a petition together urging the Council to do something – around 180 people signed it.

It’s made no difference, and Mavis says Council haven't done anything to help.

"I was just told that the shed's there, get used to it".

The Waimate District Council says if Mavis had approached them for information prior to signing, staff "could have worked with her to ensure that she fully understood the environmental effects at that time".

It now says it's changed its forms, to require anyone being asked for consent to also sign plans detailing the building proposed.

It’s also willing to consider Fair Go’s suggestion that a clause be included to advise a property owner they can seek independent or Council advise, before putting pen to paper.

For Mavis, it’s all too late.

And she regrets having ever signed the form.

"Yes, very deeply I do. It's changed my life," she says.

It's been claimed to be an eyesore, and the Waimate shed is disturbing the peace and tranquillity. Source: Fair Go

Wellington bus network changes cause lengthy delays for some - 'I'm very late'

Radical changes to the capital's bus network have prompted some commuters to vent their frustration at the delays.

Wairarapa bus company Transit took over the contract for half of Wellington city's bus routes on Sunday, but its first real test was during this morning's commute.

And there were a few issues. Buses ran late, others didn't show up at all.

Real-time tracking also wasn't working as expected. Bus network company Metlink said it was dealing with teething issues.

Commuter Dion McKenna, was waiting at his usual Berhampore bus stop, wasn't impressed.

"I'm late for work already, there were no buses for about half an hour even though it said four minutes on the sign, so they're not doing too well so far on the number en route," he said.

"Maybe it's buses getting stuck in traffic or not enough drivers, who knows."

Mr McKenna said about 15 people were waiting at a stop in Berhampore and the bus had to pass a number of stops between there and Newtown as it was too full to pick up anyone else.

"A bus used to come past every 10 minutes, but every half an hour a bit of a change, so might be leaving for work a little bit earlier now."

Another commuter from Brooklyn said she had to wait, but was glad to get a seat.

"It took a long time for the bus to come, there was a lot of us waiting, but then we all actually fit on it for once," she said.

"Usually they just drive past here because there's no space, but there was actually room on the double decker."

Meanwhile, Sarah from Mount Victoria said the new route meant the bus no longer went past her house so she would be unlikely to take it anymore.

"I think I'll be less inclined, it's not convenient anymore. There might be another one I can take but it might just be quicker for me to walk now."

Some were happy

But others had no complaints.

A commuter from Newtown said the new route was now closer to her house and she had no issues this morning.

She said services were worse in the lead up to the change over, when up to 30 services a day were being cancelled.

"There was definitely a lot of queues and lines, I think that was because they had less bus drivers when they were ending their contracts but it was really busy all the time I ended up walking most days.

"Hopefully it will be better now."

Metlink's social media feed also showed mixed feedback.

Some people posted they were excited to ride the new double deckers, while others vented frustration on Twitter about a number of delays.

The Greater Wellington Regional Council said it expected to have up to 60 double decker buses in service this year, including up to 10 electric ones.

Biggest ever bus network change in Wgtn - regional councillor

The Greater Wellington Regional Council is defending the way the wholesale changes to the capital's bus services have been rolled out.

Wellington councillor Daran Ponter told Afternoons it was the biggest change to Wellington's bus network ever and he was generally pleased with how things were going.

"We were giving people cast iron guarantees that there would be issues.

"There have been issues ... with capacity, buses running late, buses bunching together, and one or two instances where buses haven't turned up or the driver has turned left rather than right.

"Those things will be ironed out in the next few weeks."

Mr Ponter said no route or timetable was the same as it was on Friday afternoon, and this afternoon things should calm down with the drivers getting used to the routes.

The regional council says it’s trying to reduce congestion, but doesn’t know how it will staff its services in coming years. Source: 1 NEWS


Man in dispute with Tauranga City Council after being charged extra $1 for parking

At the end of every Fair Go programme, the show's hosts say, "No problem's too small".

Now, Jeremy Brooking has taken Fair Go at face value and contacted the consumer affairs show about his dispute with Tauranga City Council over an extra $1 he believes he has been charged for parking.

The Council used to charge $1 an hour for parking but last year raised the price up to $2 an hour.

However, when a credit card is used, the machine only takes payments in $1 increments from $1-6, and thereafter, takes only $2 increments so $8, $10 and $12.

Mr Brooking said he was forced to pay $8 for three-and-a-half hours of parking when the price should have been $7.

He has been wondering if other people might have been overcharged and has been trying to get an answer from Council for around eight weeks.

Tauranga City Council told Fair Go they don't believe anyone has been overcharged as a result of the price increase.

The Council said they have only had this one complaint, and they are fixing the machines so they will take $1 increments right up to the maximum daily charge of $12.

They have apologised to Mr Brooking for their poor communication, and say that they should have gotten the little things right and, in this case, they did not.

We all hate parking meters but they are making a small fortune for city councils around the country. Source: Fair Go