Deja vu for Josie
Residents angry about housing demolitions
Demolitions seem to follow Josie Huntley around.
In 2008 and 2009 she saw her childhood home being demolished along with 26 other ageing houses in Castor Cres in Cannons Creek.
Now the Hazard Grove resident is watching as the houses surrounding her, less than 500 metres from Castor Cres, face the same fate.
This week Housing New Zealand confirmed 15 earthquakeprone houses in Hazard Grove and Esk Place would be demolished.
It is not the demolition that bugs Huntley – she said the homes were old and needed to be repaired – but the broken promises.
‘‘It was quite sad to see [the Castor Cres homes] go, but it was a good feeling because I knew something else was going to go there,’’ she said.
‘‘ But now nothing has gone there and it’s sad because what a waste of land when there are so many people on the waiting list.’’
Housing New Zealand has said the Hazard and Esk land would be offered for redevelopment, which is what it said seven years ago about Castor Cres.
‘‘They were saying they were building houses and they were going to rent some out.
‘‘ There were going to be affordable houses for people like us to buy and then they would put some private houses among that loop.
‘‘We have been promised lots of things and nothing happens.’’
Housing New Zealand property services general manager Marcus Bosch said the decision to demolish the Hazard Grove and Esk Place houses had been reached because it would cost more than $650,000 to strengthen the houses and demand in the area was low.
‘‘ Once the buildings are removed, we will tidy up the land and maintain it pending redevelopment or sale,’’ he said.
‘‘We would like to see the land redeveloped with new housing built, but given there is low demand for our housing in the area, we are not looking to do this ourselves.’’
Bosch said the land would first be offered to local iwi, which had first right of refusal.
It’s deja vu for Huntley, who has lived on Hazard Gr for 13 years and remembers seven years ago being invited to Russell School and being shown the plans for Castor Cres.
This time there has been no communication from Housing New Zealand.
‘‘It’s just sad to hear we are in this pickle that nobody will talk to us about and we have to hear from other people. Where does it leave us?
‘‘ There’s no communication, there’s no talk from Housing New Zealand to us.
‘‘It annoys me and frustrates me.
‘‘Not to know if we are going to be here next year or next week – that’s quite scary really.’’
The homes marked for demolition have been boarded up for months and have attracted partying and crime.
Huntley worries that empty lots will attract more of the same problems.
Bosch said the corporation was still assessing the remaining 28 vacant earthquake-prone properties in Porirua.
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Sweet home: Josie and Alan Huntley outside their Hazard Grove home.