Hush-hush Queenstown leaky homes deal

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Queenstown’s $10 million leaky-building lawsuit has been settled – but how much ratepayers have to shell out is a civic secret.

 A statement quoting Greenstone Terraces body corporate chair Steve Wilde says the High Court claim against Queenstown Lakes District Council and builders Naylor Love has been settled out of court.

As reported by Mountain Scene last September, 107 Greenstone apartment owners claimed their Frankton Road complex wasn’t weathertight and needed re-cladding and re-roofing at about $7.5m.

The owners also claimed another $2.6m for “depression, anxiety, stress, inconvenience and/or loss of enjoyment”.

While details are masked by a confidentiality agreement, this week’s settlement statement has Wilde saying:

“The [Greenstone] body corporate and owners were grateful to Naylor Love that it was prepared to return to the site to carry out remedial works to a modified design on a basis that would see all parties to the litigation, including the owners, contribute to the cost of the works.”

Queenstown Lakes District Council was first defendant yet the official statement is silent on just how much the local body has to cough up in ratepayer funds as its contribution. Greenstone lawyers had drawn a bead on the council, claiming it:

• issued consents which breached the building code

• was incompetent in building inspections

• and wrongly issued code compliance certificates.

Like other local bodies elsewhere, Queenstown’s council long ago lost insurance cover on leaks claims.

Council boss Adam Feeley points out the deal is under wraps and in-house lawyer Scott Carran adds: “The settlement is confidential – other than disclosures required by law or for enforcement etc.

“The parties also agreed that the sole public communication would be [the statement quoting Wilde].”

Wilde’s statement also says re-design work will hopefully begin very soon “with the intention construction work will commence in September and be completed by June 2015”.

“The body corporate and owners are confident once Greenstone Terrace has been completed to the new design, they’ll have one of the most desirable multi-apartment developments in Queenstown.”

Earlier comments by Wilde portrayed Greenstone, built in 2001-02, as a house of horrors.

Some apartments were “virtually uninhabitable”, Wilde said, “with cracked ceilings falling apart with black mould”.

Damp and mould “terrified” owners living there with young children, he alleged.