Rotorua homeless shelter looks to re-open despite fine risk

Long Lunch 24/07/2018
Photo: Newshub.

A former truck driver looks to re-open a homeless shelter in Rotorua despite getting warned of a $200,000 fine.

Dozens of locals stayed at a shelter run by former truck driver Tiny Deane, but he says the council threatened him with a $200,000 fine if he allowed people to sleep there, as the building doesn't have consent.

“It’s as if the Council don’t even want me to set it up,” Mr Deane told RadioLIVE.  

Photo: Newshub.

Mr Deane says that because the homeless aren't allowed to sleep in the building, he paid security guards to repeatedly wake them throughout the night.

But Rotorua Lakes Council denies that it has shut the establishment down. Mr Deane opened the shelter about two months ago, but Rotorua Lakes Council told Newshub that it told him fire safety and structural reports needed to be signed off before people could sleep there.

It’s as if the Council don’t even want me to set it up.

The Council says it must ensure vulnerable people are safe. It says it didn't force the shelter to close, but this week staff reminded Mr Deane that he needed proper consent.

Nevertheless, Mr Dean is adamant that his building isn’t earthquake prone. He told RadioLIVE that he’s proven that the building is “safe and sound”, but the Council still is not backing down with the red tape.

“Our building is perfect. It’s been there for 60 years.”

Listen to the full interview with Tiny Deane above. 

The Long Lunch with Wendyl Nissen, 12pm - 3pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.