'Make more noise' for city heritage
The Christchurch City Council is being urged to "make more noise" about the loss of heritage buildings amid concerns that more could be lost as the city rebuild progresses.
Two Labour MPs yesterday appeared before the council's community, recreation and culture committee yesterday to raise their concerns at the lack of any statutory plan to protect the city's remaining heritage buildings.
Labour earthquake recovery spokeswoman Lianne Dalziel said the public wanted to see as much heritage preserved as possible, but nearly two years on from the February 2011 earthquake there was still no heritage recovery plan in place.
She said the Ministry of Arts, Culture and Heritage was working on a heritage recovery programme, but it would not have any statutory weight, unlike the Christchurch Central Recovery Plan or the draft transport plan.
That meant heritage buildings could be pulled down to make way for road-widening or anchor projects in the new central business district because heritage considerations were likely to be outweighed by recovery considerations.
If more protection was not afforded to the heritage buildings that were still standing, "one day we might look back and wonder why we lost so much," Dalziel said, adding that it should be the city council, not central government, taking the lead on this issue.
Labour heritage spokesman Charles Chauvel said criteria needed to be developed that allowed authorities to weigh the importance of the heritage buildings left in Christchurch so they could determine what level of protection to afford them.
Asked by Cr Jamie Gough what more the council could be doing, Chauvel said: "Make more noise."
Chairman Yani Johanson said the committee had been extremely vocal in expressing its concern at the lack of a co-ordinated strategy for saving what was left of Christchurch's heritage buildings and had passed resolutions seeking government action.
Cr Barry Corbett told the MPs they were "preaching to the converted", but the elephant in the room was the funding.
"Where are we going to get the money from to protect these buildings?" he asked.
Latest figures released by the council show that:
- Of the 74 group 1 heritage buildings in Christchurch before the quakes, 52 have been retained, 13 have been demolished and nine partly demolished.
- Of the 122 group 2 heritage buildings in the city, 83 have been retained, 34 demolished and five partly demolished.
- Of the 196 group 3 heritage buildings, 135 have been retained, 58 demolished and three partly demolished.
- Of the 125 protected buildings on Banks Peninsula, 112 have been retained and 13 demolished or partly demolished.