The Dominion Post: Rongotai homes disappearing

Airport house miramar

A home is moved from Bridge St, Miramar, as the airport removes properties in its noise zone.

Houses in Bridge St are starting to disappear as Wellington Airport forges ahead with plans to remove 44 homes near its runway.

One house had already been removed from the area in Rongotai and another was ”jacked up” on trailers, ready to be taken away.

About nine houses along the street were now vacant and many more families were in the process of packing up.

”It’s sad that all our old neighbours have left,” said Bridge St resident Heather Courtney. “I lost a really good friend a couple of doors down.”

In May, Wellington Airport announced plans to either demolish or sound-proof about 700 houses around it to mitigate future airport noise.

The airport is allowed to emit up to 65 decibels, on average, over a 90-day period at its air noise boundary.

It currently emits an average of about 61dB, but an independent study identified 44 houses in Bridge St where noise could exceed 75dB on average.

The airport already owned half of those houses and gave its tenants six months to move out. It will extend an offer to purchase the remaining houses at fair valuation.

Mrs Courtney, who will have to sell her house to the airport, said it was sad watching her street slowly wither away.

”You wouldn’t get another street like this in Wellington because it’s so wide and we’re just so close to everything,” she said.

”That’s the problem we’re finding as we look for other places, we’re going to be so far away from our beach and our shops and our library and our pool.”

”It’ll be hard finding somewhere where we can settle for the next six years before we retire. It’s a little bit stressful but we have to accept it and move on.”

A 65dB sound is the level of normal conversation from a metre away. A rise of 10dB sounds twice as loud.

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