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Extra Speedy Auckland Transport Surprising Property Owners

Extra Speedy Auckland Transport Surprising Property Owners

Land and building owners in the path of Auckland city rail link need to be readying themselves for some complex negotiations with Auckland Transport says Auckland lawyer, Adina Thorn.  She has been contacted by a number of owners who have been surprised at the timeframes with which the authority is seeking to purchase properties given the number affected.

“Many owners are starting to receive letters from Auckland Transport which seems to be moving rapidly to get the process of land acquisition underway. This is particularly so in respect of properties in the Eden Terrace area that will be affected by the proposals.”

She says that in conjunction with this the Government is moving to raise the level of compensation for inconvenience and disruption under the Public Works Act from the $2,000 that has applied since 1975 to a maximum of $50,000.

“While this is a positive move, the reality is that given the scale of works proposed with the rail link property owners will be facing considerable and ongoing disruption, as will the tenants in many of the buildings concerned.  The majority of the properties affected are businesses, many facing a situation of significant upheaval.

“With the proposed higher compensation level still to be approved by Parliament, many of those involved may choose to stall for time rather than seek an early settlement with the transport authority.”

Ms Thorn says that Auckland Transport is planning to have the rail link open in 2021 and anticipating that construction work will start in late 2015 or in 2016.  This does not allow a lot of time to conclude negotiations for over 200 properties affected by the City Rail Link.  The land designated for the railway includes a combination of strata and sub-strata.

“Obviously discussions between Auckland Transport and individual property owners can potentially be quite complex and many have expressed to me their surprise at the speed in which the Auckland City Railway project seems to be progressing.

“And with major disruptions inevitable on a project of this size and complexity, the big question many are asking themselves is whether to sit-tight, or seek a quick settlement.

“The answer to that will vary according to individual circumstances.  An inconvenience payment of up to $50,000 does represent a major improvement on what is currently available, but the reality is that many owners and businesses will face inconvenience costs far larger than that.

“Those affected should be seeking legal advice, the reasonable costs of which in the case of acquisitions under the Public Works Act must be met by the acquirer, which in this case is Auckland Transport. 

ENDS

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