Council sitting on the fence

Naiomi Macbeth’s garden has started falling into the neighbouring section.

Naiomi Macbeth’s saga with the developer of a neighbouring sections appears to be on the home stretch this week, with the repairs to the boundary under way, topsoil about to be replaced and hopefully her lost garden plants replaced.

It’s been four nerve-wracking months while the keen Welcome Bay gardener has watched her garden, then her boundary fence, fall down into the 3m drop the developer had cut next to her garden.

Over that time she has frequently complained to the Tauranga City Council with no result. The building inspectors told her the owner of the neighbouring section had three months to build a retaining wall after starting earthworks, meaning the drop should have been retained by mid-July.

Naiomi’s neighbour sent in a time-stamped picture of the man undertaking earthworks on May 12, but Naiomi was told that didn’t count. The three months is from when city inspectors sight the site.

On September 19, she came home to see her fence about to fall.

“I went inside to get the camera and heard this muffled thud, and thought ‘Oh s***’. Then about an hour later I heard an even bigger thud. And I thought, ‘Oh that’s it. The whole thing slipped down’.

“I lost so many plants and so much garden. I can’t let the dog out the backyard. He can’t go into his kennel because if he runs and stands close to it he might fall in because it’s caving underneath.”

It wasn’t until she tracked muddy boots across the council carpet and shouted for attention that anyone started to listen, says Naiomi.

Since then the line of power poles along the neighbour’s boundary has been completed and backfilled. This week the developer was replacing topsoil, says Naiomi.

“He has started putting topsoil in. He’s done all the neighbours, and then he said he will get onto the fence, and it will be finished at the end of the week.

“I’ve heard similar things before and I’m not holding my breath, but perhaps he’s right this time. So hopefully that’s all going to be finished this week.”

The developer told the city council he would reimburse the plant losses for the garden, but Naiomi hasn’t heard from the developer on that.

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