Help for cou­ple in ex­press­way night­mare

Horowhenua Chronicle - - NEWS -

The stress a Horowhenua cou­ple have been liv­ing un­der af­ter find­ing out their home of 35 years is in the likely path of a new ex­press­way has been par­tially eased af­ter bet­ter com­pen­sa­tion has been of­fered .

Jane and Nor­man Wood, who are in their 70s, have been liv­ing un­der a cloud of un­cer­tainty, the stress of which has had a par­tic­u­larly se­vere im­pact on Nor­man, who suf­fered a trau­matic brain in­jury four years ago.

Jane (pic­tured) said her hus­band’s health and men­tal state de­te­ri­o­rated rapidly as he came to un­der­stand he may have to leave the North Manakau Rd prop­erty where the cou­ple have built their lives over more than three decades.

Con­cern for Nor­man’s health was such that the pair felt they had no choice but to re­quest an early buy-out of their prop­erty so they could start afresh else­where, de­spite not want­ing to move. How­ever, this meant they be­came in­el­i­gi­ble for com­pen­sa­tions the NZ Trans­port Agency was of­fer­ing to res­i­dents whose af­fected prop­erty is their dwelling.

Af­ter a Horowhenua Chron­i­cle story ear­lier this month, Jane said she had re­ceived vis­its from NZTA rep­re­sen­ta­tives who had told her they would now pay the com­pen­sa­tion and relocation costs for the cou­ple, which, while not yet con­firmed, she un­der­stood to to­tal about $50,000.

The pay­ment would ease things con­sid­er­ably for the cou­ple, who were in ne­go­ti­a­tions to pur­chase a prop­erty in Hawke’s Bay, where Jane said she hoped Nor­man’s health would im­prove.

NZTA’s di­rec­tor of re­gional re­la­tion­ships Emma Speight said the agency had been work­ing with po­ten­tially af­fected prop­erty own­ers and could not com­ment on de­tails, but that it was work­ing to get the best pos­si­ble so­lu­tion in each case.

An an­nounce­ment on the pre­ferred route op­tion for the Otaki ¯ to North of Levin (O2NL) ex­press­way sec­tion is ex­pected to be an­nounced in later this month.

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