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March 2, 2009 | by  | in News |
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Asbestos anyone can tell, Everton residents safe

Communist Russia calls wanting debilitating silicate mineral back

Asbestos, a potentially harmful chemical substance if inhaled, was discovered in some flats at Everton Hall over the summer trimester.

Summer residents were notified about the discovery of asbestos in a letter from the Hall’s management in early February. Residents were required to move out of their flats by 5pm on the 8th February.

A former summer resident spoken to by Salient, who wishes to remain nameless, said that a $70 refund was offered to residents on their following week’s rent for the inconvenience. Those who had not moved by the required date would have their residency terminated.

In the correspondence from management to residents, it was mentioned that experts had said that the effects of asbestos exposure were less than the effects of second hand smoking.

Other than the letter sent informing residents of the presence of asbestos, the former resident spoken to said they “heard nothing else” from Everton Hall’s management about the issue.

The former resident said there was some confusion regarding the handing over of keys, and that the moving out process felt “rushed”.

The former resident said they were not told when or how the asbestos was discovered. Although residents received notice that a building inspection would be carried out early in the new year, it is unclear if the asbestos was discovered during this inspection.

Everton Hall management has not yet responded to a letter sent by the former resident that outlined concerns about management’s handling of the asbestos issue.

The final “Everton ‘Summer’ News”, acquired by Salient, asks summer residents not staying on for the 2009 academic year to “please tell all of your friends what a great place to stay at is Everton Hall.”

The former resident spoken to by Salient would not be recommending Everton Hall to others as a result of the poor handling of the asbestos situation, and other problems encountered at the Hall over summer.

Asbestos has been used in the past as a building material, as a form of thermal and acoustic insulation in offices, factories and houses. The potential harmful health effects of asbestos have been recognised for several decades, and its use has been outlawed in New Zealand since the mid-1980s.

According to a document published by OSH and the Department of Labour, ‘Guidelines for the Management and Removal of Asbestos’, exposure to asbestos fibres occurs when the materials containing asbestos are sanded, filed, sawn, drilled or handled in maintenance and removal.

While residents at Everton were at minimal risk of exposure to asbestos, the inhalation of asbestos—in severe cases—can cause mesothelioma and lung cancer.

Everton Hall was opened in 1976 and is administered by the Wellington Presbyterian Methodist Hall of Residence Trust. According to the Everton Hall website, the day-to-day management of the Hall is in the hands of the Masters who live on-site.

Everton Hall Master Ian Brown refused to comment on the issue when contacted by Salient. Brown said he did not want the story to be “sensationalised”.

Last summer, asbestos was discovered on the underside of a floor slab at Cumberland House. Salient reported that the asbestos was discovered when an electrician broke through a ceiling on the ninth floor of the building.

The asbestos was removed, but the ninth floor remained unoccupied for the duration of 2008. Cumberland House is a Hall of Residence operated by Campus Living Villages, and is part of the uStay group of student accommodation. It was formerly known as Unicomm.

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Editor for 2010, politics nerd, panda fan and three-time award-winning student journalist.

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