QLDC has no public plans for $14m Ladies Mile toxic house and land

by Kim Bowden - May 23, 2023

A report on what next for the condemned Ladies Mile home and the land it sits on isn't due with Queenstown Lakes District councillors until at least August.

Until then, the QLDC is unable to share with Crux any updates on plans for the site at 516 Ladie Mile, which cost ratepayers $13.78 million to buy and is now sitting unused.

Today Crux had asked the council for information on when the building may be demolished, and how much it may cost to do so, and whether any consideration had been given to using the land to help address the current critical shortage of short-term housing for workers in the district.

Instead, a spokesperson from the QLDC has directed Crux to its last media statement on the matter from October. Crux broke the news months after the event that toxic mould had been uncovered in the former residence that had been set to be converted into a community centre.

In October, the council had said "two options will now go before the incoming council for its consideration: install one or more temporary buildings like the one used recently as a short-term community centre for the Luggate community, or bring forward plans for the new build as part of the council’s next long term plan".

It appears it will, in fact, be 10 months before any options are presented to that incoming council or the wider community.

"Options will be presented to councillors for consideration in a report expected as part of the agenda for their August meeting. We’ll be happy to share more information at that time," the council spokesperson has told Crux today.

In February last year, councillors had signed off on a $3.66 million planned retrofit of the once family home, which had been slated to open for use by community groups last October.

Instead, come October, the toxic-mould announcement had put paid to those plans.

But the council has been quick to remind us the retrofitted community centre plan has never been the end goal - the 14-hectare property had been purchased for the strategic long-term value of the land along Ladies Mile, it says.

Information supplied to Crux last year under official information requests has shown the council had been alerted to the existence of Stachybotrys – a greenish-black mould that usually grows on fiberboard and GIB – in a report dated March 14, last year. The council then opened the building's doors to more than 300 community members for a walk-through just 13 days after the potentially dangerous mould had been identified at the site.

The received information has also shown the council paid top dollar for the property - more than $1.5 million more than what it had been valued at by a council-initiated report, which had also assumed it was watertight and free of any defects - and watertightness red flags had been raised in a pre-purchase building report.

Read more:

Toxic mould puts paid to planned Ladies Mile community hub

QLDC paid top dollar for Ladies Mile leaky building, flagged in pre-purchase inspection 

QLDC hosts public open day despite Ladies Mile mould warnings



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