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Demolition of cyclone-damaged house brings closure for owners

Gilbertson Rd demolition

The first demolition of a cyclone-damaged house in Hawke's Bay has got underway, a step forward for one Pakowhai couple who have been going through the Cyclone Gabrielle Category 3 voluntary property buyout process.

Katrina and Ian Simmond’s Gilbertson Rd house, built in the 1920s, and which they had lived in for 21 years, was one of 166 properties across Napier and Hastings that were severely damaged in Cyclone Gabrielle and became eligible for the buy-out.

The arrival of the excavator and start of the deconstruction of the property was another step in a long process, said Katrina.

“To go through something like this can be soul-destroying. For us, it’s good to be at this point – we’ve moved to a new home and are feeling settled, and we can now just move on with our lives.

“It’s been a long process but everyone we have worked with at council through the buyout process has been respectful and supportive.

“We had a lot of help from our community after the event, and we are very grateful to live in a community that supports people to get back on their feet.”

The pair was mindful that every situation was different, and that people were at different stages and wanted different things out of the process, but said for them, having found a new property to live in elsewhere, it was the path they chose in order to move on.

The Category 3 voluntary buy-out programme was established to remove intolerable risk to life, and to provide some certainty for flood impacted property owners so they could move forward with their lives and settle somewhere safer.

In August last year, the Crown announced a cyclone recovery funding package for Hawke’s Bay, which included a 50:50 cost sharing agreement with Hastings District Council and Napier City Council for the voluntary purchase of residential Category 3 properties with a dwelling or, in the case of larger and/or mixed-use properties with a dwelling, the payment of a relocation grant.

To date voluntary buy-out settlements have been reached with 39 of the eligible property owners with offers underway or approved for a further 64.

Recycling is an important aspect of the demolition process – in the case of this house, a wooden villa – 80 per cent of the structure will be recycled.

All the wood is put through the shredder onsite, apart from any metal or timber considered worth saving.

When complete, the house is reduced to one or two truckloads of shredded material that is screened with an inline magnet to take out any metal (nails, hinges etc) and the final material sent to the Golden Bay cement furnace in Whangarei.

Here, the waste timber is used as “hog fuel” (industrial wood fuel) in combination with other hog fuel materials like shredded tyres to run the cement furnace.

ncluded a 50:50 cost sharing agreement with Hastings District Council and Napier City Council for the voluntary purchase of residential Category 3 properties with a dwelling or, in the case of larger and/or mixed-use properties with a dwelling, the payment of a relocation grant.

13 May 2024

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