Demolition work is due to start on two quake-prone buildings at 29 and 47 Wellington Road in Kilbirnie later this year as the owner, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, moves to protect people and properties.
Transport Agency Director of Regional Relationships Emma Speight says uncertainty around future use of the land means demolishing the quake-prone buildings, which have been vacant for more than four years, is the right thing to do as a responsible property owner.
“The buildings are not suitable for people to live in because they are earthquake-prone and fall far short of acceptable standards for safe and healthy houses. Leaving them as they are would put people and neighbouring properties at risk in the event of an earthquake.
“We sometimes own properties that are not immediately required for construction of transport projects. We aim to keep these properties in use and tenanted wherever we can – especially where there are housing shortages, but this is not always possible.
“We considered strengthening these buildings so they could be used again as homes. Our assessment found this work would cost around $5 million and take up to two years to complete.
“With the Let’s Get Wellington Moving investigation underway on improvements to State Highway 1, which could include widening Wellington Road, there’s a chance the upgraded buildings would still be demolished after only a few years’ use, and that investment would be lost.
“Demolishing the buildings now will mean we can work with other agencies to investigate temporary uses for the land, until transport plans in the area are confirmed.”
Let’s Get Wellington Moving Programme Director Andrew Body says it is too soon to say whether the two properties would be required for the Strategic Highway Improvements project.
“We don’t know what land may be required to potentially widen Wellington Road. This is something we are investigating as we plan improvements to Wellington’s State Highway from the Basin Reserve to Cobham Drive.
“The design for any changes in the area will incorporate community feedback and be integrated with the wider Let’s Get Wellington Moving plan.”
The Transport Agency has advised neighbours of the two buildings of the planned demolition.
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