Neighbours of a new housing development in The Wood are concerned that the project threatens to disrupt the unique nature of their street after new hazard regulations forced the build to start more than a metre off the ground.
The project, which has been ongoing for almost two years, recently started to take shape. But there were eyebrows raised when builders started putting in large wooden poles and retaining walls around its perimeter.
“It seems really weird,” says Nick Kemplen who lives down the road. “It’s right in the middle of Weka St. “It will be a bit of an eyesore.”
The build, which will feature six, two-storey homes, looms large for Georgina Pattullo, who owns the Tasman Bay Backpackers across the road and lives directly next door.
“It’s hideous, isn’t it,” she says. “I’m disappointed. I want to live in a little street with little houses. I’m not against moving forward, it’s just looking forward in the right way.”
The project must be built more than a metre off the ground due to Nelson City Council’s new flood hazard information which projects flood risk for the year 2100. According to the council’s mapping, vast swathes of the city are at risk of flooding based on a 1 per cent “annual exceedance probability” rainfall event, also known as an ‘AEP”.
A one per cent AEP event is a flood that has a one per cent chance of occurring or being exceeded every year, and is sometimes known as the one in 100-year flood.
The new mapping means any new build in the flood areas, which include parts of Stoke, Nelson North, Enner Glynn, Nelson South, Atawhai and The Wood, may need to be raised. Modelled scenarios include both present and predicted future rainfall intensities, and different amounts of sea level rise between 0 and 1m.
“It has massive implications,” said one neighbour who did not want to be named. “It’s certainly causing a lot of people to scratch their heads. Bureaucracy gone mad?”
Council’s group manager strategy and environment Clare Barton said any new development in the flood hazard zone will need to be built to a certain height, but the required height may vary depending on the site.
“They may not all be required to reach the same height as this development, depending on the flood modelling specific to the site.”
Nicole Lewandowski, who is the daughter of the developer Andrzej Lewandowski, says the project was conceived of in 2015, before the new hazard plan came into being.
“We didn’t think it was going to happen and other building companies didn’t realise. It’s definitely put the costs up.”
Nicole says she was aware of neighbours’ concerns as the Pattullos raised them through the formal consent process.
“They were concerned for their daylight. It will affect them a bit, but we still went through the requirements.”
As for Georgia, she says she didn’t have the energy to fight it any longer. The next step was Environment Court.
“We would have to fork out money to keep going.”
Georgina says not only is the development going to look block her sun and look “awful “but it also pointed to future implications of building in the city. Much of Nelson is also in the projected flooding area.
“It’s going to have a huge impact.”