Dilapidated Mt Cook house in danger of collapse: pedestrians asked to avoid walkway
A dilapidated and earthquake-damaged house in the central Wellington suburb of Mt Cook at risk of collapse has prompted Wellington City Council to temporarily close a popular walkway.
The alleyway, next to the house at 82 Wallace St, connects Wallace St to Wright St and is used by pedestrians to get to a bus stop and dairy.
Acting building compliance and consents manager Chris Scott said engineers inspected the house last week and immediately sought the assistance of the council to block the walkway when it became obvious the building was a danger.
Temporary barrier fencing was erected at each end of the walkway on Friday, but pedestrians have been shifting the fencing to take the shortcut.
Scott asked that pedestrians take heed of the barriers and recognise that the old house posed a real danger.
"The new owners of the property want to start demolishing the house as quickly as possible – and the intention is that the demolition work should finish towards the end of next week.
"When the demolition starts the walkway will, of necessity, become part of the demolition site so it'll be impassable. In the meantime we're asking pedestrians to exercise patience and avoid the route."
Fellow building compliance and consents staffer Ricky Kernohan said the council had been called in a number of times to fix up the displaced barriers ahead of the imminent demolition.
He said while the closure of the walkway was recent, staff had been monitoring the site carefully over the past few months.
"Right from the word go, when we were notified, we issued a dangerous notice on the property, which meant no one could spend time in there."
Kernohan understood that an independent engineer had been working on the property to determine "the best way forward" and the council had not pushed for it to be torn down quicker than planned.
"It was always up to the owner because, for a while, they had to investigate their options – whether they could fix the building up to make it better again or whether the best method was to pull it down."
The owner of a neighbouring dairy on Wallace St said while the closure of the walkway had affected business.
She was, however, pleased to hear the house property would soon be demolished.
The property, which had a current rateable value of $540,000, was sold by tender on March 31 for $480,000.