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Kapiti residents turn out to back Lim critic

Misleading information about future erosion has unfairly blighted 1800 Kapiti Coast homes, the High Court has been told.

Last year the Kapiti Coast District Council published predictions of 50 and 100-year coastal erosion zones, affecting about 1800 properties.

On the same day, it placed that information on Lim reports for those properties, sparking concerns among homeowners that beachfront land values would plummet.

Waikanae Beach resident Mike Weir took the council to the High Court at Wellington yesterday, seeking a judicial review of the council's decision. About 40 Kapiti Coast residents came to support him in his legal bid.

His lawyer, Philip Milne, said the information in the Lim reports was provisional, and had presented a worst-case scenario.

The process of gathering coastal hazard information for the council's District Plan was not complete, he said. "Eighteen hundred properties have been blighted by misleading information.

"The council makes much of the fact that consultation will take place, but that is too late to address the damage done to homeowners in the meantime."

The council had a duty to ensure information on Lim reports was reliable, complete and not misleading.

The council had agreed to an independent peer review, showing it knew there may yet be scientific questions to be resolved, he said.

In the meantime, the information should be treated as provisional, and potentially unreliable. The coastal erosion report had focused on erosion, but ignored accretion, by which wave action and sediments can build up the shoreline. "In my submission, the scientists have got it all wrong," he said.

For the Kapiti Coast District Council, lawyer Tim Stephens said it believed it had a legal obligation to include information about erosion on Lim reports. The reports were designed to allow potential buyers to consider relevant information held by councils. The information was the best available about where the coastline would be in 50 and 100 years.

Processes causing accretion were too poorly understood to be included in the modelling, he said.

Outside court, Mr Weir said the legal battle had been hard.

"While my wife and I are taking the case today, we've really appreciated the help and support of so many coastal property owners."

Justice Joe Williams reserved his decision after a day-long hearing.


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