Fight on to save historic building

JOE DAWSON
Last updated 05:00 22/02/2013
Michael Wood
JOE DAWSON/Fairfax NZ

PRIORITY: Puketapapa Local Board member Michael Wood outside the old Mt Roskill Borough Council chambers.

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The fight to preserve one of the few historic buildings in Mt Roskill has stepped up a notch.

The campaign to lobby the Auckland Council to retain the old Mt Roskill Municipal Chambers is under way with a petition started.

Located on the corner of Mt Albert and Mt Eden roads in Three Kings, the building was at the heart of the old Mt Roskill borough which stretched as far as New Lynn and Royal Oak.

It had suffered serious water damage, been infected by black mould and remained vacant since early last year.

The petition is being driven by Mt Roskill-Puketapapa Historical Society chairman Garth Houltham.

He said the building might not meet the standard of other historic buildings but he felt it was worth preserving.

"The problem in Roskill is we have so few heritage buildings, I think we have four listed. If we don't save this one now in 50 years it will be too late - it will really be part of history then." 

By Tuesday the petition had been running for 10 days and more than 500 signatures had been collected.

Houltham was planning to present the petition to the council's heritage forum on Tuesday and also hopes to speak to the full council at its next meeting.

Until the discovery of the black mould last year the building had been home to the Puketapapa Local Board, which now uses a space in the Finkling Centre.

The chambers were built in 1957 on a site that has been associated with local government in the Mt Roskill area since 1885.

Houltham said the original front of the building could be kept and restored, while additions made to the back of the building in later years could be removed.

He would like to see the local board return to the building, and for part of it to be used as a community venue.

"It's at the heart of Mt Roskill, it's where all the decisions about how to develop Mt Roskill have been made. 
"It's an integral part of the local history."

Houltham said some at Auckland Council were not committed to "retaining and restoring the building, meaning there is a real threat the council could exit and demolish the building".

The campaign is supported by the Puketapapa Local Board and heritage representative Michael Wood, who said keeping the building is a priority.

"It's not the most beautiful building but it is very much a part of the history of Mt Roskill and we want to see it retained along with other buildings."

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