Council's toxic house vandalised - with power still on

by Peter Newport - Jun 18, 2024

Vandals got a head start on the Queenstown Lakes District Council this weekend by smashing up the $6 million "toxic house" at 516 Ladies Mile.

Demolition work was due to start yesterday (June 17) but when Crux visited the property today (June 18) there was no sign of any demolition work - or security from the council's contractor Cougar.

There was no sign of any attempt to turn the power off or clean up the broken glass. Gaps in the security fence were still open as were doors to the house.

Almost every window in the house has been smashed and the lights inside the house turned on. Graffiti has also been painted on some walls.

House doors at the property were wide open today

The house is still surrounded by security fencing - with gaps.

The council paid a combined $14 million for the house and land back in 2019 but failed to carry out remedial work recommended in a pre-purchase "leaky building" report. This failure allowed the house to fall into an even worse state of repair with toxic mould being discovered a couple of years later.

The QLDC has always said that the house and land purchase was "strategic" but there's been no clear plan for the property since the purchase and now it looks as though the land will be used as a sports field.

Almost every window of the main house has been broken over the weekend

Most of the lights inside the house have been left on with no apparent attempt to secure the property

It's not clear if Cougar Security are still contracted to keep the property secure.

Council demolition contractors Ryal Bush have told Crux today that the vandalism is inconvenient and makes the job a bit more difficult but will not produce any significant delays. The company said the job was on schedule and "day one" did not necessarily involve demolition work taking place on the site.

The council had not responded to Crux questions about the vandalism, lack of security or the power still being connected by our deadline.

 

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