There are concerns over plans to turn a Howick residence contaminated with asbestos into an early childhood education centre.
A neighbour who goes by the name of Liz s is against the childcare centre being built on the busy Howick Street and says it will increase congestion and noise in the area.
She says residents were not informed of the development plans and were not given the opportunity to object.
Discovering the asbestos contamination has only heightened her concerns for the building of an early childhood education centre at the Moore Street property, Liz says.
“I had to do my own investigating to find out that the new owner planned to pull the house down and build a daycare centre.
“Renovations started before I had a chance to object,” she says.
“Now, not only am I unhappy with living next door to a busy day care centre, but I don’t think turning an asbestos-ridden property into a daycare is the right thing to do.”
Liz says she first became suspicious of the development when the owner of the property wouldn’t tell her why the house was being demolished.
“He repeatedly told me he was not the owner of the property which of course was a lie.”
Liz contacted council herself to find out the plans for developing the property.
Despite her objections, Liz was told that the development was deemed “not notified” because it was not believed to have any adverse effects on the residents or environment.
Liz says it was white powder coming from the demolition site that raised alarm bells for asbestos.
“I contacted [Worksafe NZ] and, sure enough, after an inspection, the house was found to be contaminated,” she says.
Liz says the whole process for developing the day care has been unacceptable and she thinks Moore Street residents should have been kept in the loop.
She now fears she may have been breathing in asbestos for weeks before the contamination was confirmed.
Steve Pearce, Auckland Council manager regulatory compliance says the property owner was found to have followed correct procedure related to asbestos contamination.
“An Auckland Council Compliance Officer has inspected the site and found the owner of the property and contractors have followed all the correct protocols, had the property surveyed by approved asbestos testing service and identified areas for removal,”
Pearce says it is common for asbestos to be concealed behind gib or other structures and surfaces and is often not identified until renovations commence.
Notifying neighbours is determined on a case-by-case basis, Pearce says, which in this case was through signage posted outside the contaminated property.
Anna Wallace, Auckland Council manager, premium resource consents says the application for a building consent for the Moore Street site is still being processed.
“Establish ECE Ltd has had a resource consent approved to develop the existing dwelling at 105 Moore St, Howick, into an early childhood centre.” She says.
Wallace says several neighbours have provided feedback on the resource consent application which will be considered by the Duty Commissioner when making the decision
A decision has not been made on the application, she says.
Affected parties can apply to the High Court for a judicial review of a resource consent decision.