State house reno before demo
AHamilton state house is set to be demolished just weeks after being furnished with $7000 worth of new carpet and drapes. Plans to bowl the three-bedroom weatherboard home were several years in the making.
However, tenant James McIlwrick was only told last month.
While Housing New Zealand are providing him with a new home, starting over is a scary prospect for the 84-year-old.
McIlwrick has lived in the Fairfield Rd property for 46 years. He moved in in 1973, when the rent was $14. He has tried to buy the place a few times and was told it was not for sale.
Nevertheless, he planted the lemon and po¯ hutukawa trees in the front yard and put down tomato patches and grape vines in the back.
He’s also raised three daughters there. ‘‘It’s very disheartening. Please let me live my last few years out here.
‘‘I don’t know where they’re going to put me. Everything is here . . . the bus stop is outside for when I get my licence taken off me, which is not very far, another couple of years I suppose.
‘‘At my age, it’s a bit hard to make new connections.’’
The great-grandfather recently had a hernia operation but worked in the earthmoving industry right up until last Christmas.
He looked forward to tending to his gardens and spending more time with his family, especially his great-grandchildren who spend hours playing in the po¯ hutukawa.
McIlwrick will have a meeting with a Housing New Zealand representative next week, and after that he will have 90 days to move out.
The three-bedroom property would be demolished or possibly removed to make way for four new homes in response to the growing need for state homes, a HNZ spokesman said.
The carpet, curtains and extractor fan in the bathroom were installed to ensure the house was ‘‘warm and dry’’.
It was the first time the organisation had updated anything in the home, McIlwrick said.
‘‘They spent all that money on it and then they go and knock it down – what a waste.
‘‘They wouldn’t even let me come back. I asked if I could put my stuff in storage and then come back . . . they said no.’’
The site is expected to be developed by mid-2019.
Housing NZ also developed the section behind McIlwrick’s property. They removed two houses and built eight units.
He asked then if he would be moved and was told his property would stay. ‘‘I told the girls (McIlwrick’s daughters) that I had to move and they all cried.
‘‘This has always been their home. It will always be our home.’’
"This has always been [my daughters’] home. It will always be our home,’’ James McIlwrick said.
James McIlwrick has lived at his Fairfield Rd property for 46 years.