No repairs for oldest active police station

KEITH LYNCH
Last updated 05:00 30/12/2011
Manch
KIRK HARGREAVES/Fairfax NZ
GUTTED: Sergeant Gary Manch who like his colleagues is disappointed the historic Lyttelton Police Station is too damaged by earthquakes and aftershocks to be repaired.

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The earthquake-damaged Lyttelton Police Station will not be repaired. The station, the oldest working station in New Zealand, was hit hard in the February 22 quake and suffered more damage in the aftershocks.

Southern area commander Inspector Malcolm Johnston said that after months of engineering investigations, police had decided it was too expensive to fix the station.

"This is sad news for police, for our local staff and for the Lyttleton community," Johnston said.

"However, we have received advice that to repair the building to an adequate standard would cost at least $1.5 million.

"That is significantly more than the cost of a new station.

"Last week's earthquakes caused significant additional damage and will have further increased the cost of repairs."

Lyttelton police have been working out of a garage next to the station since February and will move into portable buildings in coming weeks.

More temporary facilities are likely to be added.

Sergeant Gary Manch said staff were "gutted".

"We love the old station, but Friday was the final straw for the old building," he said.

"The staff are obviously upset."

"It was the oldest operational police station in New Zealand and I don't want to be known as the last sergeant to work there.

"We'll still be working from Lyttelton. The people of Lyttelton are important to us.

"I guess we'll just have to reminisce about the old building."

Manch said staff would move into portable cabins in the next week or two.

Johnston said police may now look at developing a shared facility in Lyttelton with other emergency services.

"There's an increasing realisation that it makes good sense for the services to co-locate and share facilities," Manch said.

"This provides us a good opportunity to look at whether such a solution would work for Lyttelton.

"At this stage no decisions have been made and it's too early to say what any future facility might look like."

During the February 22 earthquake, the Lyttelton Police Station suffered significant structural damage, including extensive cracking to the exterior walls.

The station was built between 1880 and 1882. The building would be inspected by an engineer next week and a decision on its demolition would be made after that, Johnston said.

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