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Disharmony in the village of Hawksbury | Otago Daily Times News Online

” Don’t buy land here. ” The huge sign on the side of a shipping container at the entrance to the village of Hawksbury displaying this message was short lived, but the story behind the sign is a saga of tears, tantrums and turf wars that have gone on for years. Simon Henderson reports.

The former grounds of Cherry Farm Mental Hospital has slowly turned into a peaceful suburb since the hospital closed in 1992.

But behind the scenes all is not well, with some saying bullying, espionage and dubious charges are taking place.

The site is operated by Hawksbury Village Management Ltd (HVML).

There are approximately 80 owners who own property on the site and all are shareholders of HVML, which maintains the village for the benefit of all owners.

But some owners say they are treated unfairly by the directors of the management company and say a vote of no confidence is needed.

HVML’s board said that negative attention had recently been paid to the village by a minority group and that HVML would not participate in any media attention that could compound the damage already done.

Shane Ayers has owned approximately two acres (8,000 m²) on the site for approximately 16 years and recently built a new home there.

He said that even before construction began, HVML General Manager Kylie Scott had an argument with a digger operator who was trying to start the excavation by blowing up a gutter where the gutter would go. alley.

She started to walk out yelling at the driver of the shovel.

”This is just the beginning. The rest is far from true – everything from going to the board behind my back to a petition to get me elected to the board. ”

Mr Ayers said he spent around five months on the board but was dismissed after a secret petition was sent to shareholders saying he was not a fit and appropriate person to represent shareholders.

“It’s just a matter of power,” he said.

Jennifer Roger owns approximately one acre (4000m²) and with her husband Peter Roger rents a top floor apartment in what was one of the old buildings at Cherry Farm.

She said administrators engaged in harassment and intimidation tactics and swiftly laid charges for perceived infractions while dragging their feet for repairs such as removing tree roots that would cause harm. problems for sidewalks.

Shahma Smith lives in one of the property’s corporate units.

She said one of the administrators searched her property without asking, and when she tried to run as a candidate for HVML’s board, her campaign was undermined by a letter distributed to d ‘ other shareholders discouraging his candidacy.

Kathy Wintrup is another owner who says a vote of no confidence in the board is needed.

She said the leadership style of the board was based on bullying, bribery and harassment.

“For me personally, it has reached the stage where I no longer feel safe or confident to walk around the village,” Ms. Wintrup said.

Other shareholders said that a small number of owners made life difficult for others.

The Star has been contacted by other shareholders who are concerned about the behavior of Mr. Roger, whose wife is a shareholder.

Asked by The Star for an answer, Mr Roger said he could be confrontational,

but he was defending his patch.

HVML’s board “was stealing money” from his wife by issuing disproportionate charges for perceived offenses, he said.

HVML’s board said the annexation schedule allows shareholders to continue with arbitration if they wish, but this was not requested by any shareholder.

HVML’s demands to shareholders were very basic and easily understood and they were respected by 95% of their shareholders, they said.

Requirements for the benefit of all shareholders included that withdrawals be paid on time; that no damage is caused to the infrastructure or the land of HVML; no personal items or rubbish should be left on HVML property; all accidental damage is repaired; and vehicle crossings through HVML lands be completed in a timely manner.

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