Last updated 12:27, March 17 2018
Christchuch company HydroVac has agreed to vacate its premises after complaints from neighbours prompted the council to issue an abatement notice.
Director Matthew Punter said the company believed it had existing use rights but agreed to go because of the mounting costs – in addition to legal costs, HydroVac would spend about $50,000 relocating and would pay $30,000 more a year in rent in new premises near the airport.
Punter said the company was a victim of circumstances and it had signed a six-year lease on the Prestons Rd property in good faith.
“We weren’t choosing to breach any rules. It’s taken a year to sort this out,” he said.
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Many businesses have set up temporary premises since the earthquakes, often in residential areas under a post-quake temporary district plan rule – but they must still seek permission or obtain a resource consent.
There have been 913 temporary accommodation approvals issued since the temporary accommodation legislation came into effect on March 2011, expiring in 2021.
A city council spokeswoman said it was unclear how many were businesses or individuals or whether they were all still operating.
The property HydroVac was operating from was at 237 Prestons Rd.
Neighbour Ross Murdoch, owner of Coasters Tavern at Redwood, complained to the city council about noise, vibration, diesel fumes and visual disturbance. Murdoch declined to comment about HydroVac’s decision to leave.
The Environment Court heard how the employment of 12 staff was in jeopardy if the company was ordered to leave without time to find alternative premises.
The court ruling came after HydroVac appealed to the Environment Court against the abatement notice on the basis it should be given time to relocate the business.
The court agreed HydroVac should have until May 31.
The court imposed conditions until the relocation, including restriction on the number of trucks to eight and two utes excluding staff vehicles, sprinkler control of dust, truck washing to be undertaken at 50 metres distance from boundaries, no road side parking or signage, noise restrictions, operating hours between 7am and 7pm, and no activities on weekends or public holidays.