Airport house buy-up pushes on

MICHAEL FORBES
Last updated 15:51 20/02/2013
Bridge Street resident Heather Courtney
KENT BLECHYNDEN/Fairfax Nz

MOVING ON: Bridge Street resident Heather Courtney.

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Rongotai's Bridge St is getting progressively quieter these days with its airport tenants long gone, along with half a dozen houses.

Wellington Airport spokesman Greg Thomas said progress was steady with its plans to remove 44 houses along Bridge St, which borders the airport runway.

The airport is doing so because it cannot mitigate noise in those homes to an acceptable level of 65 decibels.

It already owned 19 of the 44 houses it wanted to get rid of when it announced its intentions in May. Tenants were given six months notice to vacate.

They have since moved on and now the houses are disappearing. Six have been taken away and the rest should be gone by the end of the year, depending how fast the contractors work, Mr Thomas said.

Bridge St resident Heather Courtney, who lives a few houses down from where the houses are being removed, said it had made the area much quieter.

‘‘It’s also lot sunnier these days. I can see right down the [far] end of the street because there are no garages anymore.’’

Residents had become accustomed to the house removal workers over the past few months, and did not consider the empty sections to be eye-sores, she said.

‘‘Where they’ve removed a house they’ve just flattened the section and put grass down. They’ve been pretty quick to do that actually,’’ she said.

‘‘It’ll be interesting when they’re all gone though. I don’t know what that’s going to look like.’’

A lot of former Bridge St home owners had been returning to take photos of the place before all the houses disappeared, Mrs Courtney said.

Her house is one of the 25 the airport intends to buy at fair value and remove, but no approach had been made to get the process started, she said.

Mr Thomas said the airport had thus far purchased two of the houses it needs to buy. Those sales happened after the home owners chose to advance discussions, he said.

The house removal project is part of a wider initiative being undertaken by the airport to mitigate its noise for up to 700 surrounding homes.

The airport is still deciding exactly how it will do this, but window seals, ventilation systems and noise insulation have all been talked about.

The total cost of the project is expected to be about $20 million.

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- The Dominion Post

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