New Hub reduced to rubble

01:04, Apr 17 2014
Enkhnasan Chuluunbaatar
RUINS: What remains of the mosiac on the former Artery building in New St, Nelson.

A broken heart in Nelson's New St marks where the old Artery once stood.

Demolition of the former arts centre building is well under way, and the sculpted mosaic facade that once surrounded the entrance has been smashed to pieces.

After a poor seismic rating, the Nelson City Council announced last year that the building, formerly the Artery and then the Hub and the New Hub, was to be demolished. The space is set to become a carpark.

The artist behind the large mosaic, Valeska Campion, had campaigned to have the facade saved.

She said she was "gutted" to see it come down, and felt that the council "neither value art nor community".

"I believe that the council has seen little value in this piece because it is community art, and because it only cost $40,000 to build.


"If everything had been paid for to build this work, it would have cost over $350,000 to construct. The fact that it was a labour of love and built by volunteers and the generosity of many Nelson companies has somehow devalued this piece."

She said she was worried that Nelson would become a "cultural backwater" and lose its image as a cultural centre due to the council's actions.

Demolition contractor NorWest said it would be able to salvage about 90 per cent of the building, including the timber flooring and the stage that was in the main hall.

The roof has come off, and most of the walls are now piles of rubble.

Council communications manager Angela Ricker said the council was saving two panels from the mosaic.

They had colourful tiles made by a cross-section of the community, including primary school children on school holiday programmes, people on intellectual disability programmes, community wage workers and tourists.

The pieces would be kept in storage until the council found a home for them, she said.

Ricker said the site would be cleared, with total demolition due to be completed early next month.