The former Masterton hospital is set for demolition. PHOTO/ELI HILL

ELI HILL
eli.hill@age.co.nz

Quotes are being sought to demolish 14,000m2 of the old Masterton hospital and work is expected to be completed in under two years.

The hospital which has been vacant for around 10 years has been the subject of vandalism and arson.

In June the Times-Age reported that the old Masterton hospital posed a “significant” risk, according to Masterton Fire Brigade station officer Mike Cornford.

Tenders for the demolition opened last Friday and close at midday on October 18.

Land Information New Zealand [LINZ] owns the property on behalf of the Crown, LINZ deputy chief executive of Crown Property Jerome Sheppard said.

“The buildings are no longer fit for purpose for a medical facility or repurposing for a future use.

“The former hospital buildings included in the demolition have now been vacant for over 10 years and are beyond economic repair.”

The land is part of a portfolio of properties held for treaty settlement, Sheppard said.

“The former Masterton hospital site is of interest to Ngati Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tamaki nui-a-Rua. Through their historical treaty settlement, it is envisaged the iwi would have the right to purchase the site.”

The demolition does not include the three buildings leased to Masterton Medical Centre which will remain open and operational during the demolition.

Demolishing the hospital wouldn’t be an easy task.

In addition to posing a fire risk, the hospital has an underground network of service tunnels that also go under Wairarapa Hospital through which they share “vital services”.

An asbestos removal control plan will need to be developed by the contractor who will also need to provide noise buffering to minimise disruption to the surrounding area during operational hours.

Slab and foundations will need to be removed for all demolished buildings and all work must be completed by no later than April 2021.

Wairarapa District Health Board would look forward to more information about timing of the demolition operation when it is available, spokeswoman Anna Cardno said.

“[The DHB] will ensure staff and the public are kept well informed.

“There will be some impact on traffic and parking through the roadway between Blair St and Colombo Rd, but no access to hospital services, medical practice or the pharmacy will be compromised.”