close
close

Auckland man convicted on tax charges to build new boathouses in Ōrākei

An Auckland man convicted of tax charges last year has been granted permission to build three boathouses alongside the picture-perfect ones already lining the water’s edge at Ōrākei.

Last month, David Gower obtained resource consent to build three sheds to match the 17 existing heritage-protected buildings along the curved edge of Ngāpipi Rd, against the wishes of Ōrākei Local Board, which wanted that the project be publicly notified.

The heritage-listed boathouses, built in the early 1930s, attracted international attention last year when a restored example sold for $2,050,000. The previous record was $1.35 million.

Auckland Council’s zoning rules mean owners cannot live in the sheds or use them for commercial purposes, partly because the simple structures in Hobson Bay are not allowed toilets or other plumbing.

AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
There are 17 heritage-listed boathouses along Ngāpipi Rd, Ōrākei.  Photo / Supplied
There are 17 heritage-listed boathouses along Ngāpipi Rd, Ōrākei. Photo / Supplied

The regulations limit their use to boat storage and boat maintenance.

Gower told the Herald He planned to use the sheds to store boats and had no plans to sell them.

Last year, as a director of a fire systems installation company in Auckland, Gower was convicted of one count of accessory to an offense under the Tax Administration Act.

He pleaded guilty in the Auckland District Court to a representation charge covering 49 tax periods and was sentenced to two years and three months in prison.

AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
Auckland boathouses built in the early 1930s along Ngāpipi Rd, Ōrākei, could soon have new neighbors.
Auckland boathouses built in the early 1930s along Ngāpipi Rd, Ōrākei, could soon have new neighbors.

Gower appealed the sentence, which was overturned by the Court of Appeal and replaced with four months of community detention.

Gower said he did everything the council asked him to do to obtain resource consent to build the sheds and planned to start work immediately.

Ōrākei local board member Troy Churton believes the application to build new boat sheds should have been publicly notified.
Ōrākei local board member Troy Churton believes the application to build new boat sheds should have been publicly notified.

Ōrākei local board member Troy Churton said the board believed the historic, visual and coastal changes to the environment were more than minor. The application should have been notified to allow interested groups, such as the Tamaki Drive Protection Society, and the public to have their say, he said.

The new boathouses will be built at the end of the existing boathouses closest to Tamaki Drive.

“I am very concerned that the existing heritage status of the existing sheds will result in a protected status by not having more boathouses and modern developments on either side of that stretch of coastline,” Churton said in an email to council staff.

On April 11, Acting Commissioner Cherie Lane approved the application, saying it passed tests for non-compliant activities and would have less than minor effects on the environment.

The new boathouses will be built between the end of the heritage-protected boathouses and Tamaki Drive.  Photo / Dean Purcell.
The new boathouses will be built between the end of the heritage-protected boathouses and Tamaki Drive. Photo / Dean Purcell.

“In terms of heritage character, the proposed boathouses are considered appropriate as the new boathouses will complement the form and fabric associated with the physical attributes and values ​​of the site.

“In terms of potential impacts to the landscape, natural character and visual effects, the proposed boathouses are consistent with the grouping of 17 similar boathouses on the site in terms of scale, proportion and materiality,” Lane said.

Ōrākei local board member Penny Tucker said Gower had done nothing wrong but was disappointed that the resource consent had not been notified.

“If you don’t report something publicly, you don’t get to the bottom of what might be worrying local people,” Tucker said.

AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.

“If the council wants local boards to have more autonomy and be more accountable for the areas over which they have jurisdiction, then systems must reflect the boards’ ability to influence outcomes.

“If you can’t be part of a dialogue to change, modify or notify things, what’s the point?”

Angie Mason, the council’s central resource consent manager, said anyone can apply for resource consent to build a boathouse in the coastal marine area.

The only costs are consent fees and charges, a charge of $1,116 for monitoring works after a boathouse is built and $185 for any subsequent monitoring visits by the council. Pier owners do not pay fees, Mason said.

AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.