An empty burnt-out house in Lindsay Rd, Lookout Point, is
concerning some neighbours. Photo by Gregor Richardson.
Lookout Point residents say a neglected burnt-out house
in the Dunedin neighbourhood is dangerous, a fire risk and an
The roughcast Lindsay Rd house has twice been damaged by fire
and left in its ravaged state for years by the owner, a
He told the Otago Daily Times he had no plans to
demolish what was left of the house or clear the section.
After the first fire, about 12 years ago, he received
insurance money and planned to rebuild.
Busy at the time, he stalled for several years, until
eventually the house was subject to a suspected arson.
That fire, about six years ago, damaged the property beyond
Asked about the house and neighbours' concerns, the owner
said he did not think the property posed a risk to anyone.
From time to time he cleared vegetation on the section, but
otherwise he had not attempted to do anything with it.
One Lindsay Rd resident described the property as a ''death
The resident, who asked to remain anonymous, was worried
material from the dilapidated section could be blown around
in high winds.
He said children and teenagers often went to the property,
even though they had been told not to, and they were at risk
of being injured.
''It's a death trap,'' he said.
Another nearby resident said it was only a matter of time
before more of the house fell down.
She said the empty section attracted curious teenagers, and
she, too, was worried about the safety of people on site.
A manhole where the front door used to be and other uneven
patches of ground were masked by the overgrown vegetation,
which in itself was a fire risk, she said.
''Kids get inquisitive and go in thinking it's safe to walk
through. Something needs to be done. It needed to be done
Another neighbour said he did not think the property was
dangerous, but he worried about excess vegetation fuelling
There was another empty section in Lindsay Rd which was also
a fire risk, he said.
Dunedin City Council building services manager Neil McLeod
said the council generally did not involve itself in private
property matters, unless an occupied property was deemed
unsanitary or dangerous.
Because the Lindsay Rd property was not occupied, it could
not be considered either of those things, he said.
''It doesn't meet Building Act criteria, where we would feel
we needed to be involved in it.''
The council could become involved if material from the
property was blown off site and posed a safety risk to the
public, Mr McLeod said.
But, in general, property owners were responsible for their
own sections, he said.
''It's really a matter for the owner of the property to sort
out if they wish to. Obviously, local kids have no right to
Mr McLeod said there had been similar cases in Dunedin over
the years, usually involving houses damaged by fire.
''If the owner chooses not to fix it up, that's their
business,'' he said.