Six week demolition of QLDC's 'toxic house' starts next week

by Peter Newport - Jun 10, 2024

The Queenstown Lakes District Council will begin demolition of the house at 516 Ladies Mile from Monday, June 17, and the work is expected to be completed by Tuesday, July 30.

Once the house has been demolished the land will be used as sports fields, and the garage at the back of the house will stay.

Crux has reported extensively on the purchase, which cost $14 million with an allowance of around $6 million for the house. The council was warned in their own pre-purchase report that the house was a leaky building and needed extensive repair work. 

That remedial work was not done and the house has literally rotted into a state where it now needs to be demolished due to the presence of toxic mould.

The property and land were purchased in 2019 as what the QLDC has called a strategic investment and will be used to accommodate what the council calls the growing need for sport fields and recreational space in the district.

In 2022, councillors requested an investigation into turning the current residential property into a community facility, noting that its use as such had not been the original intention of the purchase.

Simon Battrick, QLDC sport and recreation manager, said that the prohibitive cost of retrofitting the current property and the presence of toxic mould meant that the best course of action is to demolish the building and prepare the site for future community use.

Mr Battrick publicly denied that the council had always known about the severe leaky state of the house saying in a social media post in January this year that the QLDC's plans to convert the house into a community centre were previously "on track but the extent of the mold and cost implications made it impossible to go ahead". 

“Clearing 516 Ladies Mile of the current property will enable future community use of the site as part of the overall Ladies Mile Masterplan. As we look to the future, this area will be an important community asset for the growing Queenstown Lakes District.”

The draft Long Term Plan 2024-2034, due for consideration by councillors on June 27, includes a proposal to bring forward development of the 516 Ladies Mile site. If approved by councillors, consultation on the draft LTP will run from June 28 until July 28. 

The demolition contract was awarded to Invercargill based contractor – Ryal Bush Transport.

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