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House to come down

Thursday, 22nd March, 2018

A picture of the burnt-out house taken in early March. The fire, which destroyed the house, also damaged the walls of neighbouring properties. A picture of the burnt-out house taken in early March. The fire, which destroyed the house, also damaged the walls of neighbouring properties.

By Kara de Groot

A burnt out house on Mercury Street that has sat derelict for months now has a demolition date.

The house at 234 Mercury Street burnt down nearly five months ago, and council has now confirmed it will be pulled down early in April.

Nearby residents said they have been plagued by flying debris and the fear of asbestos since the fire first consumed the building, although Council reported the structure had been sealed with PVA to prevent the asbestos from becoming a hazard.

Mercury Street resident Jenny Robertson said she and her neighbours were just relieved to finally have a removal date.

She said after significant correspondence with Council, it had been confirmed the asbestos will be cleared away on April 3, with the remainder of the house to be pulled down about a week later.

“Since the fire gutted that house nearby residents have had to endure numerous hardships, lack of sleep being one of them,” Ms Robertson said.

“There will be no more windy nights where we are woken to the sounds of banging iron, or yet another piece of the house collapsing,” she said.

“Aside from the fact the burnt-out shell of the house smells and is an absolute eyesore, I believe it to be a danger to public safety. Not only are we concerned about loose roofing on the house flying into our properties on windy days, we are also concerned it may hit nearby power lines, traffic, or even pedestrians.

“Thank God it will not still be standing in our windiest months of August and September.”

A council spokesperson said the presence of asbestos in the house complicated the demolition process, and the owner’s insurance claim had also slowed down proceedings.

“The demolition of the structure had been delayed due to quotation requests as part of the owner’s insurance claims process, and the collection and analysis of soil samples to determine if groundworks will also be required as part of clearing the site,” the spokesperson said.

“Council also recognises that this is a difficult period for the owner, who has been in constant contact with Council throughout this process, leaving us satisfied with his ongoing efforts to meet all compliance regulations.”

Ms Robertson said she looks forward to seeing a new home built on the site in the future, with a new owner taking pride in the property.

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