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.


ie ’ Hthaazta’rs­dqGuroitveesrceasirdy­er­ne­taJlolys.


Sweet home: Josie and Alan Huntley out­side their Haz­ard Grove home.

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