Church to evict families from homes

MOVING OUT: Residents have been evicted from a row of houses in Tuhikaramea Rd, Temple View, to make way for a new meeting house.
MOVING OUT: Residents have been evicted from a row of houses in Tuhikaramea Rd, Temple View, to make way for a new meeting house.

Dozens of Temple View families are being evicted from their homes to make way for a new, large-scale meeting house for churchgoers.

But with no other houses vacant in the largely Mormon suburb, they'll be forced to live elsewhere in Hamilton.

It's heartbreaking news for the families living in about 10 homes on Tuhikaramea Rd, between the old college grounds and the Mormon temple, who were last week asked to vacate by January 31 next year.

Developers Envision NZ, who represent the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, did not provide details about their plans for the homes, or the land, but residents yesterday told the Waikato Times the houses would be demolished to allow construction of a new facility, similar to a church or chapel.

There was not enough space in the current meeting houses, the residents said, and some churchgoers had been using the old Church College buildings, which were considered unsafe and marked for demolition.

Kerin Hague, who has lived in her home since 1997, said there was "sadness" within the tight-knit community as long-time Temple View families would have to pack up and leave.

She and husband Philip had raised their four children in their tidy, white brick home, but will now have to look for a house in Hamilton.

"It's a bit of a heartache because living here, it's a very safe environment, especially those with young children.

"But that's just the way it has to be," she said. "Those houses have had their day, they really have."

She understood the new meeting house would be very large and a "totally different design to what they've ever done before".

Envision NZ director Paul Coward said the church owned the homes and tenants had been permitted to live there since the closure of the college in 2009 "but time has come now for the tenants to vacate the homes".

"The fact is that land where some of these homes reside will be required for other purposes," he said.

"We had provided tenants a letter in June indicating that this inevitable occurrence is imminent."

The Hamilton City Council has not received any resource or building consent applications for the area where the new facility is proposed to be built.

Residents living on the other side of Tuhikaramea Rd have been called to a meeting to discuss the future of those houses.

It is understood many of the houses have major water problems and that they also could be bulldozed so that new homes can be built.

The houses were built in the early 1950s.