Work to demolish the remains of the old Barrett St hospital in New Plymouth is underway.
Toitū Te Whenua Land Information New Zealand (LINZ), which manages the 7.6-hectare site on behalf of the Crown, is overseeing the removal of stockpiles of contaminated material and demolition of seven non-heritage buildings at the former hospital.
The demolition began in 2016 and was making steady progress, with service tunnels and 14 structures removed, until larger than anticipated amounts of asbestos were discovered in 2018. This saw work come to a halt, as a resource consent was required to remove the contaminated material from the site.
Since then, LINZ has been working closely with Ngāti Te Whiti Hapū, Te Kotahitanga o Te Atiawa, environmental consultants, New Plymouth District Council, and contractors behind the scenes to progress the remaining works.
LINZ Project and Hazard Management Delivery Team Manager Matt Bradley says work is now able to continue after a resource consent was granted by the New Plymouth District Council.
“Over the last few weeks, our contractors have been busy setting up at the site to enable them to start work as soon as the resource consent was approved.
“We’re pleased to be able to resume work to clear the site and expect to have this completed by mid this year.”
Mr Bradley says a range of measures will be used throughout the works to minimise any disruption to neighbouring properties.
The former nurses’ home, Dawson St gates and brick wall, will remain on site as they are heritage listings in the district plan.
“Once the stockpiles and the non-heritage buildings are removed, we will continue working closely with Ngāti Te Whiti Hapū, Te Kotahitanga o Te Atiawa and our environmental consultants to determine if future work is required at the site.”
The site is part of a Treaty settlement with Te Kotahitanga o Te Atiawa, who have first right of refusal once the site is cleared.
The former Barrett St hospital is one of around 900 properties, including former prisons, hospitals, schools and houses earmarked for future Treaty settlements that LINZ manages and maintains on behalf of the Crown.
LINZ took over management of the site in 2016.