Science Alive! defends decision to raze station

MARC GREENHILL
Last updated 05:00 26/06/2012
Science Alive
JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/Fairfax NZ
DAMAGED: The Science Alive! building in Moorhouse Ave.

Relevant offers

Christchurch Earthquake 2011

'Special little symbols of hope' Hands grasped on holy ground Christchurch: A tale of two cities Demolition on Victoria Apartments nears finish State housing quake repairs below target Greens call for blue zone Legal advice may not cover size of insurance settlement Churches' fate still bound by red tape Public to have a say on red zones' future Earthquake stress plea to insurers

Science Alive! has defended its decision to demolish Christchurch's old railway station after criticism from heritage advocates.

The 52-year-old Moorhouse Ave building's fate was sealed last month when part-owner Science Alive! confirmed its section of the building was beyond repair.

The Christchurch Civic Trust yesterday expressed its "despair" that "yet another example of Christchurch's architectural heritage will disappear because of manmade demolition".

Trust board member Ross Gray said the building could have been developed into a transport hub if Science Alive! did not plan to return.

"It is another example of the rush to clean up resulting in a void that forestalls imaginative use of assets left standing in our central city," he said. "These buildings are rapidly disappearing in the wake of the policy of clearfelling our city."

Heritage building owners had a responsibility to the city, Gray said.

"We don't know if [Science Alive!] have exhausted all means or they've decided it's too much trouble and just want to get rid of it," he said.

Science Alive! chief executive Neville Petrie said it was the first he had heard of the Civic Trust's concerns.

The extent of the damage meant repair, at about $30 million, was not an economic option for a charitable trust.

"If someone would come in and offer us the value of the land and was happy to restore the building, then I'm sure the trust board would consider selling it to them," he said.

"The cost of repairing it is way beyond what we can get from the insurance payout, so we really have very little option."

A Christchurch City Council heritage report to the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) last month recommended retention and repair of the building.

The railway station had architectural and aesthetic significance as a Dutch Modernist design and cultural significance "as a reminder of an era when rail travel played a central role in society", the report said.

Engineering reports found the building sustained "moderate" damage in last year's February and June quakes.

A Cera spokeswoman said the authority had not ordered the demolition, but was managing the project for the owners. No date for demolition has been set.

Ad Feedback

- © Fairfax NZ News

Comments

Special offers
Opinion poll

How would you rate your quality of life?

Extremely good

Good

Average

Poor

Terrible

Vote Result

Related story: Quake stress creates the 'new vulnerable'

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content