Council considers demolition moratorium

LOIS CAIRNS
Last updated 15:09 04/09/2012
Christ Church Cathedral tourist
Richard Cosgrove
LEGAL BATTLE: The Cathedral's fate is being decided at a two-day High Court challenge.

Relevant offers

Christchurch Earthquake 2011

'Special little symbols of hope' Hands grasped on holy ground Christchurch: A tale of two cities Earthquake stress plea to insurers Inspections rise after demolitions spark safety fears Life in the rebuild's waiting room Pool repairs could cost city $6m Royals to meet quake victims' families Saving a sense of history Quake legislation not enough, says Council

Concern at the loss of heritage buildings in Christchurch could see the city council seek a moratorium on demolitions.

The council's community recreation and culture committee today voted three to two to write to Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) chief executive Roger Sutton and Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee asking for an immediate moratorium on Cera-approved demolitions of listed heritage buildings.

The committee wants the moratorium in place until such time as a heritage recovery programme is approved.

Since the earthquakes, Greater Christchurch has lost much of the heritage that was one of its defining characteristics.

As the end of April this year:

- 37 per cent of the listed heritage buildings in central Christchurch had been demolished (113 of 308 buildings).

- 9 per cent of the listed heritage buildings on Banks Peninsula had been demolished.

- The New Zealand Historic Places Trust had granted over 560 emergency consents to damage or destroy archaeological sites in Greater Christchurch.

Many more heritage buildings are damaged and will be demolished.

Committee chairman Cr Yani Johanson said he was worried that Cera did not have a long-term strategy for retaining Christchurch's heritage and had been too quick to pull buildings down.

"I think what's happened with our heritage buildings has been quite political. There's been a political will to have them knocked down,'' he said.

He acknowledged the moratorium was largely symbolic as Cera had already pulled down most of the heritage buildings on its demolition list, but it was important the council made clear its desire to see as much of the city's heritage saved as possible.

Cr Peter Beck said he was worried Cera was being too quick to bring in the bulldozers.

"I want to send the message to them saying, 'Hang on guys'. That wouldn't be a bad thing,'' he said.

Cr Jamie Gough voted against the moratorium because he believed the council would achieve more by trying to positively engage with Cera.

"The horse has long since bolted and we won't get what we want,'' he said.

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