Category Archives: HDC

Mayor Feyen’s earthquake report is out, the HDC building does not appear 100% safe & what you should know about the company that designed it

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Horowhenua DC’s Mayor Michael Feyen

Horowhenua Mayor Feyen’s personally funded (to the tune of $25K) independent earthquake report was released yesterday, amidst much discussion on social media and by HDC establishment that the building is still safe! So, okay, it’s just safe enough but only under certain conditions and I look forward to reading the fine print on that. To get you up to speed, this building is only TEN years old, cost $10 million and has cracks in its basement! The new norm by all accounts. This is defending the indefensible. And it was designed by a company that “specialises in earthquake engineering and seismic design”. Now we have an independent report stating the building is rated ‘E’ only and will only achieve a ‘C’ if the Civil Defense are moved along. 

“The report, carried out by Structural Concepts, says if the civil defense headquarters stays put inside the council building, it should be considered earthquake-prone.

…there are “potential structural vulnerabilities”, including concerns about the roof. The report also states that the site on which the building stands consists of “unconsolidated to poorly consolidated mud, sand, gravel and peat”.” Stuff

The building needs remedial work to the tune of $30K. Remember this building is only 10 years old people.

“Mr Clapperton says expected costs of the remedial work, recommended by ISPS Consulting, to lengthen the life of the building have come in. The cost will be in the vicinity of $30,000 and will be covered within the existing maintenance budget.”  

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One of the cracks in HDC’s new $10 million building … the new norm

Remedial work? On a new building? Why are the designers and the construction company not under investigation? Why are they not being made to stump up with the remedial costs? Oh that’s right it’s the 21st Century when corporations and companies get away with all sorts incurring wee small taps on their wrists with wet bus tickets. Fines payable from their petty cash.

“A Stuff investigation has found 13 near-new buildings have structural weaknesses in Masterton, raising fears of systemic failings in the engineering industry. The design faults, which were not picked up by council, reduced five of the buildings’ seismic strength status to “earthquake prone”. 

Now the owner of two of the buildings is struggling to find anyone accountable for the costly errors.

So HDC’s current stance is basically ‘it’s safe as houses, no worries’. There is more however that they’re not highlighting in the discussions or on their website (including the $68 million debt nobody wants to talk about & they won’t open the books).

Firstly, this design company has recently been under scrutiny in the Wairarapa district:

“A Masterton community-owned trust is suing the engineers responsible for designing two of its buildings that were found not to meet the seismic design standard for new buildings. 

Masterton Trust Lands Trust has begun High Court action to recover the costs of remediating the buildings’ structural faults.

The company that undertook the structural design of the buildings, Kevin O’Connor & Associates, as well as consenting authority  Masterton District Council, and Spencer Holmes Ltd, which was engaged by the council, are all subject to the claim…

Trust general manager Andrew Croskery said costs of remediation work for 61 and 73 Dixon St were significant enough to warrant court action.  

“More work is needed to understand the full extent of these costs. If we decide to include the cost of remediating additional buildings in this claim, these costs could run into millions of dollars.”

“Council has sought advice from its liability insurers in the first instance. As a result of the court proceedings we are not at liberty to respond more fully other than to say that Lands Trust Masterton have kept us fully informed of their position throughout this process to date.”

“We will not be able to comment further until this matter is resolved.”

The trust is considering its options in relation to a further nine of its buildings, all of which were structurally designed by Kevin O’Connor & Associates.

Of these, four buildings have been assessed as not meeting the New Building Standard.

The remaining five buildings are undergoing detailed reviews by independent engineers after initial assessments identified potential structural design issues.

Overall the 11 buildings, built between 2003 and 2016, make up about 20 per cent of the value of the trust’s total property assets, owned on behalf of the Masterton community.

There’s that word again …  ‘remediation’! Read the whole article HERE.

The faulty design work was first discovered in Masterton when private developer Percy McFadzean commissioned a seismic review of a building he constructed in 2005 to be leased to ASB Bank.

The initial report found serious design flaws that made the new building earthquake prone — findings that were backed up by two more detailed reviews conducted by independent structural engineering firms.  SOURCE

Secondly, there are similar rumblings in Palmerston North.

“Investigations into the safety of building plans are underway after weaknesses were found in Masterton buildings designed by a Palmerston North firm. The Palmerston North City Council will ask independent experts to review a sample of engineering plans for city buildings by Kevin O’Connor and Associates.”   

Read the article HERE.

So while HDC appear to remain staunch supporters of the said company/ies and continue to maintain the building is safe (they’re filling up the cracks with epoxy resin folks) and a certain disgruntled section of the public are still trying hard to be rid of this Mayor who is a fly in their proverbial ointment … please do consider the obvious here. Would you really employ a company to design anything of yours with so many strikes against its name? Seriously?

So to recap, the $10 million HDC building was built to also accommodate Civil Defense emergencies, but hey, no worries we’ll just relocate them somewhere else! Christchurch ran their emergency earthquake operation out of the library, so what’s the problem? And speaking of Christchurch, remember the CTV building?

“The “six-story office building that collapsed and killed 115 people in New Zealand’s devastating earthquake … was poorly designed by an inexperienced engineer, inadequately constructed and should never have been issued a building permit, a government report has found.”

The report found several deficiencies in the CTV building’s engineering design and said the city council should never have issued the building a permit because the design did not comply with the standards at the time. The commission also concluded that there were problems with the building’s construction.”

“…the building had been issued a “green sticker” following a magnitude-7.0 earthquake in September 2010, signalling authorities had given it the thumbs-up for people to continue using it.

An investigation by The Associated Press last year found that inspection checks routinely used across the world to verify the safety of buildings following earthquakes fail to account for how well those buildings will withstand future quakes. The AP found that building occupants and public officials in Christchurch did not understand that a “green sticker” doesn’t mean the building has undergone a thorough analysis of its structural health, nor that it would stay intact during future quakes.”

Read the article HERE.

You could be forgiven for thinking our building industry and the standards it abides by is being run by cowboys. Seriously. Have they really learned anything here? This company “specialises in earthquake engineering and seismic design” amongst other things. Time for a serious overhaul and back to basics surely?

Watch this space and keep an eye on HDC’s FB page and this ongoing discussion. There are questions being asked there about the previous reports that need to be answered.

For more information on happenings in the Horowhenua district check out our Local Govt Watch pages at the main menu and search ‘categories’ as well.

EnvirowatchHorowhenua

 

RELATED LINKS:

Opportunist builders, dodgy steel and shonky standards create new building crisis ‘worse than leaky homes’

Falling through the cracks: experts warn of a wave of new buildings failing earthquake standards

 Resolved: Horowhenua council building is safe and Wayne Bishop is deputy mayor

Horowhenua mayor says he will fund report about building’s safety himself

Horowhenua mayor refuses to enter council building, claiming it unsafe

Why is there a Massive Shellfish Die off at NZ’s Waitarere Beach?

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Waitarere Beach NZ, littered today and all week with thousands upon thousands of dead and dying shellfish

This was the scene at Waitarere Beach in the North Island of NZ today (16th March 2017). The carnage extends from just south of Foxton, and south as far as Hokio. A local man from there we spoke to (Hokio is just further south of Waitarere) said he’s lived his whole life near this coastline (he is tangata whenua) and has never seen anything like it before. He said it began last Monday … the shellfish are dying en masse.

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A dead pipi on Waitarere beach NZ, one of many thousands seen this week washed up with the tide

Pollution of the Waterways

This is becoming more frequent by the day as huge die offs of many different species of animal, bird and marine life … mysteriously (or so we’re supposed to believe) disappear. Knowing the state of our planet (for those who are observing it closely) and how trashed and polluted it is, it is not mysterious and  not difficult to join a few dots as to the likely causes. Our ocean has been used for decades as a disposal bin for all manner of poisonous trash. The quick, cost effective way for corporations to operate with little accountability.   We are seeing the end results now. Not rocket science at all.  See for yourself videos of the ongoing pollution of this part of NZ’s coast here. DCs call it ‘sustainable development’.

The following video illustrates the pollution of Foxton Beach (just further north of Waitarere) via the Manawatu River (dubbed most polluted river in the Southern Hemisphere, a river where Trenchmouth has been contracted). This was in 2012. Our rivers here are only 40% swimmable. The rest are not safe to do more than wade in.

Hokio Stream has become ‘an open sewer’ after years of polluting

A Horowhenua hapu says it has been heartbreaking to watch one of their streams become more and more polluted.

The Levin Landfill has this week been the subject of a hearing, with its effects on the nearby Hoiko Stream being put under the microscope.

The Horowhenua District Council, Horizons Regional Council and environmental group Neighbourhood Liaison Group have spent the week poring over the environmental effects of the landfill.

David Moore, a representative of the NLG and the Ngati Pareraukawa hapu, said the stream’s degradation had been a “tragedy”

READ MORE: http://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/news/84576646/Hokio-Stream-has-become-an-open-sewer-after-years-of-polluting

RELATED:
Levin landfill not obliged to meet ‘modern environmental aspirations’

The Levin Landfill does not need to meet modern environmental standards because it has already has consent, a council lawyer says.

Note well, that comment is from a council, like most throughout NZ, that purports to recognise “the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi and kaitiakitanga, providing for the relationship of Maori and their traditions with their ancestral lands, water sites, waahi tapu and other taonga” (SOURCE) … and to operate “sustainably”. See our Local Govt Watch pages at the main menu for further examples of LG complicity in pollution.

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Pollution on Waitarere Beach is a common sight now as farm & industrial effluent spew into the waterways daily

Explore the links provided here to see that this is now a global problem. If you search for yourself you will find many more.

Thousands of Dead Pipi Wash Up on Waihi Beach

Thousands of dead pipi have washed up on Waihi Beach in the Bay of Plenty, shocking the locals.

A video shot by resident Jeannette McCallum on Tuesday shows the sea of dead pipi lying on the beach.

Ms McCallum says she found the blanket of shellfish during a walk with her friend, and in some places the pipi were 20 centimetres deep.

“They were really thick around the stream that comes from the reservoir and onto the beach.”

READ MORE

http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2017/03/thousands-of-dead-pipi-wash-up-on-waihi-beach.html

FURTHER LINKS FOR WAIHI:
http://www.maifm.co.nz/home/vids/2017/sad-scenes-as-whole-pipi-bed-washes-up-at-waihi-beach.html
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/bay-of-plenty-times/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503343&objectid=11818851
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/bay-of-plenty-times/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503343&objectid=11819597

Mystery of Shellfish Decline

A popular Northland shellfish-gathering spot is closed indefinitely due to a mysterious population collapse.

Surveyors of Ngunguru Estuary’s pipi beds could find no specimens last year over 5cm in length, compared with 10 years ago when there were about 50 pipi that size per square metre.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/northern-advocate/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503450&objectid=11577328

Incurable Oyster Herpes Behind Big Shellfish Die-off

An incurable herpes virus has been named as the likely cause of a huge increase in juvenile oyster deaths in the upper North Island.

The $30m oyster industry announced last week that about half its crops had died over November and December.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/northern-advocate/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503450&objectid=11577328

Shellfish Collapse in NZ

Shellfish are found in the near-coastal zone, close to where people live. It stands to reason then that they will be the first to show that the sea is in a serious condition. Furthermore, shellfish cannot swim away temporarily to avoid occasional bad conditions. This article raises alarm about what has been happening and what will happen next. The consistent collapses of our shellfish stocks brings an important message. No longer can we say that we were not warned!

http://www.seafriends.org.nz/indepth/shellfish_collapse.htm

Animal mass die-offs, animal news and animal strange behaviors

Yes, giant mass die-offs, disease outbreaks and other stressors are on the rise, killing billions… But we don’t react! Are they so mysterious?

Below, find a collection of animal mass die-offs from around the world for 2015.
Animal are dying in huge numbers due to pollution of sea and air:
  • Millions of fish and massive numbers of whales and dolphins are washing ashore dead.
  • Birds are falling dead from the sky
  • Poultry are dying from avian flu. and cattles from other sometimes unknown disease.

http://strangesounds.org/animal-mass-die-off-strange-behaviors

Fukushima

The elephant in the room nobody talks about in mainstream media & as we speak is killing fish stocks world wide. See the map six years on with what is flooding into the Pacific … how can we not factor in the pollution that this event has brought to our oceans?

“The nuclear disaster that has contaminated the world’s largest ocean in only five years and it’s still leaking 300 tons of radioactive waste every day.”  READ MORE

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An energy map provided by the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows the intensity of the tsunami in the Pacific Ocean caused by the magnitude 8.9 earthquake which struck Japan on March 11th 2011

Find further articles on Fukushima at ‘categories’ (left of page) & on the main menu.

EnvirowatchRangitikei Horowhenua

Nobody thought of the elderly in Foxton’s main street upgrade – what’s new?

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Negotiating the road crossing with no curbing leveled to a ramp for the elderly with walkers

Aside from the fact HDC is hocking off the pensioner housing stock, how will the elderly fare with the new Foxton main street upgrade? Having observed the elderly walking along the main street over several days, it seems the clever people who designed the upgrade forgot to factor them in. It’s common knowledge that Foxton has a high ratio of older citizens. And yet, watching them negotiate the main street currently is very interesting. This dear lady in the above image had to lift her walking frame over the curb before she could proceed across the road over the stones. Now if you are in need of a walking frame you are, one could safely conclude, unsteady on your feet. So lifting the frame over a guttering then stepping over it yourself could be quite a risky venture.

So if it’s temporary, what’s the problem? Take a look at that curbing. It has no ‘ramp’ or leveling from the path down onto the road as one would normally find on a foot path, enabling a smooth transition onto and off of the roadway. And they are making the street safer? Really? There’s not a ramp in sight so this appears to be permanent. And worse, where will the mobility scooters negotiate the crossing? At the public presentation by HDC a woman did speak up about this (weeks ago now). She had witnessed near accidents with people and their walkers sliding downwards on the gravel towards the gutter. This really isn’t all rocket science people. Who designed this upgrade & where did they get their credentials? One of those purchase online degrees perhaps?

Another gentleman spoken to on the street recently told us he had had a similar omission of a ramp to enter his drive. The new curb was built right across his drive way and he had to press for them to change it, and they did, but what an unnecessary cost having to re do it? How many other driveways have they ‘plastered’ over like that? 

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No ramps on either side of the street for the elderly to cross with either walking frames or a mobility scooter

Then there is the entrance to the swimming pool. They’ve placed a garden area right at the entrance so if an ambulance needs access, well, they will just have to park up the road a bit and run a bit faster when they hit the pavement.

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The entrance way to the swimming pool is now blocked with a garden making ambulance or other access more difficult … and this upgrade’s about safety

Check out further articles on these issues at our Local Govt Watch pages at the main menu. (You will also find articles under ‘categories’). Because councils are now companies (check Dun & Bradstreet’s website) then their focus, like any company’s, is profits not people. Particularly not elderly people, going by this street fiasco. Their affordable housing is on the way out, what is next? There was a quick consult about the sales also (except Iwi by the looks … the OIA request we got on that had no evidence of it … in spite of their policy on Iwi relationships espoused on their website) … and people I know who attended said their anti sale views were quickly squashed. They were also given a very nice dinner I’m told.

The current contracts will apparently remain the same, but remember they’re still selling off the family jewels and the next set of tenants will of course have raised rents. Companies aren’t in business for love … the current council already raised the rents considerably since becoming a company. That’s all in the nature of neo-liberal economics … sell off the stock these old people helped build and if we go the way of America, offer them end of life counseling.  What these people need to remember is they too will grow old and their fortunes are not foolproof.

I did omit to mention, the new Mayor who actually cares about old people, and who is and always has been against the sale of these flats, has been removed from the committee that is discussing the sales (see Horowhenua Chronicle 1/3/17) … because he has a conflict of interest, that is, he doesn’t agree with selling them. That gets rid of any pesky bias towards keeping them and presumably it’s going to help pay down the $70 odd million debt (the official figure, it’s said to be much higher) the same establishment accrued in recent years.

EnvirowatchHorowhenua

As the Foxton Main Street Vigil Sets In – HDC Continue to Pay Lip Service to their Statements on Iwi Relationships

Folks from all around the Horowhenua gathered in the main street this week to express their disagreement once again with decisions that the Council have made that affect the public and not themselves. Need I repeat … the saga over folks wanting clean water and the Council wanting a street beautification that won’t particularly benefit them personally because they don’t even live in Foxton. They are in fact spending $1.6 million doing up the street to look like all the other main streets around the countryside, and meanwhile we bathe in chlorine and drink the same with the other contaminants contained therein. Slow poison from the cumulative effect or filter it at very great cost that few can afford. The street do up could wait or have a cheaper makeover in terms of new seal while more important matters are addressed like paying down the $68 million plus debt (other estimates are $100 mill) and fixing the water. What I have noticed at the protest is, of the many people who have stopped by and asked genuine questions, only a very few felt they’d been properly consulted and those who recall the more recent consultation meetings said they had been shut down. Those who could recall very early discussions, were back as far as 2010, when there was not a $68 million debt. This has changed now and there are different priorities. Debt & water.

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People beginning to gather for the second day of the protest in Foxton’s main street

The Council has reaffirmed their flip flop … Foxtonians received on Wednesday (the first day of the protest) a written letter from three members of Council pressing home in true DC fascist style (which is becoming the signature of Local Government dealings NZ wide … remember they’re corporations) that the street do up will be going ahead, AGAINST the promise also made to Mayor Feyen by the CE. (Hear Mayor Feyen speak about this here). Agenda 21 has seeped well into the councils now. Learn on our Govt Watch pages (main menu) how many folks have been ruined in more ways than one in their fights with local Councils. (You can read the the letter from the three Councillors at the following link: foxton-main-street-upgrade). Councils typically hold ‘consultation’ meetings, shut down the dissenters who don’t agree with the plan, tick the ‘consult’ box and plow ahead regardless. Contracts appear to go to certain people and other people complain they are not opened for public tendering.

Now the media reports that our new Mayor has been thrown off the committee that is looking at the community housing sales people don’t want (and he has always openly stated that he is against selling off the housing stock), so much for democratic representation. His anti-sale stance gets him removed from the committee? And Council is democratic? In his term as a councilor he and Cr Ross Campbell were put off committees with no reason given, he spoke about this as Mayor in the early Council meeting when Councillors removed Ross Campbell as his appointed Deputy.
(You can sign the stop the housing sale petition here). 

Remember also, HDC is in at least $70 million debt, a debt that has been regularly questioned with no answers, and has met with a blatant refusal to open the books to the public. So what’s to hide?

Watch this space because HDC are in for a long battle here. People will not be run rough shod over forever, and particularly not the people of the land, tangata whenua. Council appears on their website to be all for partnership. Read their fine sounding rhetoric… remember :

“The treaty is a partnership between Māori and the Crown, which requires the partners to act toward each other ‘reasonably and with the utmost good faith.’4  Treaty Principles – from the Waitangi Tribunal

Iwi Relationships

Horowhenua District Council recognises the importance and special position of tangata whenua within the region. 

Memorandum of Partnerships are becoming increasingly important as Council seeks closer and meaningful working relationships with the Maori community, to achieve effective consultation on a wide range of issues affecting our respective areas of governance.

Maori see people and the environment as closely inter-related and share with us a strong interest in maintaining and protecting the environment as well as developing the economic future of the area.

Through its decision-making processes, Council recognises the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi and kaitiakitanga, providing for the relationship of Maori and their traditions with their ancestral lands, water sites, waahi tapu and other taonga.

Council is committed to the continuing process of consultation with Maori in the District, and has worked with iwi on a number of collaborative projects including our prestigious Culture and Community Centre – Te Takeretanga o Kura-Hau-Po.
SOURCE

In reality however, and as we ‘speak’, this fine DC has plans to allow the spraying of human effluent (basically human sewage) all over a Māori burial ground … a wahi tapu at Matakarapa in Te Awahou. Now if anyone should head up to the local public cemetery with one of those septic tank vehicles full to the brim with sewage and empty it all over the graves there, what do you think would happen?

EnvirowatchHorowhenua