Council orders fumigation of Newtown hostel

BY BRITTON BROUN
Last updated 08:15 05/03/2010

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Wellington City Council has ordered a hostel to be fumigated after residents complained of filthy conditions.

The owners of Newtown's Capital City Lodge said the complex was clean and the complaints were blown out of proportion.

A council inspector visited the hostel on Tuesday after residents complained of bed- bugs on a mattress and sanitary pads left in empty rooms and around the property.

One woman said her mattress was covered with stains and tiny bugs were crawling on the underside. She said her legs and arms had insect bites.

Another resident, Tobias Nelson, who is on an invalid's benefit, said there were more than 40 people living in the complex. They were mainly on low incomes, beneficiaries or suffered from disabilities.

A black mould found in his apartment had ruined a pile of linen, and used sanitary pads had been found around the property, he said.

"It's like they're taking advantage of people who are disadvantaged. We have the right to live in clean, sanitary conditions."

Council public health team leader Raaj Govinda said a cleansing order was issued on Wednesday. "The entire lodge has to be pest controlled and cleaned thoroughly. And we're going to be asking for an [ongoing] cleaning plan."

Mr Govinda said they had not had complaints about the hostel before. Its general condition did not pose a major health risk.

The lodge advertises long-stay rooms from $199 a week, with the most expensive being $339 for a double room for two people. The prices include meals. One-night stays range from $49 to $129.

The manager would not comment when The Dominion Post visited the lodge.

Nick Parkin, a spokesman for Resource Holdings, which owns the lodge, stood by the hostel's cleanliness - and claimed the bitten woman had brought the bugs with her. He said tenants were responsible for cleaning their own rooms.

The hostel was being run properly and partly upgraded. "We don't make any money from that building. It's really our social responsibility project in a way."

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- The Dominion Post

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