WE all know that our government is proceeding with the Mr Fluffy buyback scheme and I acknowledge being one of the commentators fiercely urging it to take action.
Around town are the fenced houses with big Xs painted on them ready to come down. Many Fluffy owners are happy with the scheme, pleased to move on. Many are not.
Fluffy owners Rod Calvert and wife Leslie have lived most of their lives in a cherished house on a double block at Farrer, building their home into what it is today; they love their gardens, their house and their chook yard. They never want to leave it.
Kitty Read, at Hackett, is in a similar position. She’s lived most of her life in her Fluffy house. The children grew up there. They’ve all moved out and her husband has passed away. That house is her spiritual home.
Kitty and the Calverts are in the last quarter of their lives. They’re willing to take the risk, if any, of living the rest of it in their homes.
The question I have for Chief Minister Andrew Barr and the government concerns the recently announced study into the risk of living in a Fluffy house.
It will be the first detailed long-term study into the risks of living in houses contaminated with Mr Fluffy asbestos. We’re spending more than $400,000 over two years with the ANU’s National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health.
The team will also estimate exposure levels for former and current residents of Mr Fluffy properties and the risk of developing mesothelioma.
What if, after two years, the researchers conclude that there is no risk to residents who lived in the Mr Fluffy homes?
What the hell do we do then? Do we go back to the Calverts and say: “So sorry, Rod and Leslie. So sorry for bulldozing all of your memories and building a bunch of units in their place.”
Perhaps we could acquire those units back, bulldoze them and build a replica house and gardens to move the Calverts back in!
In all seriousness, if we’re undertaking this study, does it not allow the government to give a “stay in proceedings” of two years for those older residents who don’t want to go?
How absurd will this whole scenario be if the study finds there is no risk.