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Transit Security Failing Heritage Buildings


Transit NZ Security Measures Failing Heritage Buildings

Transit New Zealand security measures are failing to prevent damage, vandalism and theft from occurring in the upper Cuba Street area since tenants were evicted in February, and concern is mounting over the safety of heritage buildings in the area.

Wrought and cast iron gates, close to 100 years old, have been stolen from outside the 1906 Tonks House, a category one listed historic property. Prior to February 23 Stagecraft Theatre tenanted the Wellington City Council owned house. Gary Tonks, cousin to the house’s original owner says, “they’re irreplaceable … I would dearly like the gates returned”.

Graffiti has occurred at the 270 Cuba Street property, believed to be the oldest house in Wellington, and windows have been broken at this and other properties. Chubb Security has been contracted by Transit to monitor the area. Transit have not repaired the broken windows, and graffiti was removed by concerned anti-bypass campaigners, including local tenant Stephen Jessup.

“Clearly Transit is being negligent in safeguarding the heritage of Te Aro. It’s ludicrous, basically they’re using taxpayer money to put the safety of heritage buidings in jeopardy. They are choosing to pay thousands of dollars to a security company who are not protecting the houses, instead of keeping them safe and occupied with rent-paying tenants,” says Jessup.

Security guards appear to be patrolling 24 hours a data and it is estimated that so far, the cost of contracting the security company will have exceeded $20,000.

It is understood that if Transit is granted construction funding, buildings would not be moved until November at the earliest, leaving them open to further damage for at least 7 more months. If security guards continue to be employed, the total cost to Transit will reach an estimated $100 000 or more.

Jessup believes to safeguard the properties, Transit must re-tenant them.

He is also concerned over the behaviour of the security guards after an 18-year-old woman who lives in the same Arthur Street flat as his daughter, was intimidated by a security guard last week. Arthur Street is a side-street near to the properties where Transit have evicted tenants.

“She was at home by herself at 11.30pm last Monday, when a security guard enters via the back stairs and says she shouldn’t be there, then asks her if she’s alone. He gave her a real fright. There is no question that she and my daughter, plus two others are legitimately living there. The lease is with Transit’s property agents Knight Frank,” says Jessup.

Jessup and others are calling for Transit to review the situation immediately.

For further information contact: Stephen Jessup
971 8067or 025 76 22 88

Gary Tonks
971 2557

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