Who owns $184-a-week roof?

MARTIN VAN BEYNEN
Last updated 12:39 22/08/2014
Roof of the former Odeon Theatre
Joseph Johnson

ABANDONED: The roof of the former Odeon Theatre has lain across the Manchester St footpath for two years.

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Ownership issue leaves Odeon roof costing ratepayers

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Each week it's wasting $184 of our rates but no-one seems in a hurry to take action.

The roof of the former Odeon Theatre was removed by the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) for safety reasons about two years ago and ended up on the footpath on Manchester St, between Tuam and St Asaph streets.

It has not moved since and a 40-metre barrier is required on Manchester St to separate pedestrians walking around the huge structure from traffic.

The barrier is costing ratepayers $184 a week and has already cost ratepayers about $10,000.

Cera has washed its hands of the 140-year-old roof and the position of the roof's owner, Odeon Property Holdings, a company directed by Ian Bruce Hyndman and owned through other companies by Christchurch bankrupt David Ian Henderson, is unclear.

The Press began asking questions about the roof two weeks ago but reaction has been slow and in the meantime another $368 has been spent on the barrier.

A council spokeswoman said the council needed to instruct the owner to move the roof.

''If no action is forthcoming, we will need to take steps to have the roof moved onto Cera land or have it demolished and removed.  The invoice for costs involved would then be passed to the owner.''

The council was still trying to establish ownership, she said.

Cera told The Press two weeks ago the roof is owned by Odeon Property Holdings which retained ownership of the roof when it sold the theatre property to Cera.

The roof is mainly on land owned by businessman Warwick Darby who used to have a menswear business on the site.

Darby said he did not have high hopes for getting paid to store the roof on his property.

''It's pretty poor Cera can just plonk the roof on my land without permission and then walk away.''

He said one option was to give the owner notice the roof had to be moved in a month and if that was not done, to call in a demolition firm.

Henderson told The Press today the roof was not his responsibility but did not say whose it was.

He would only share his ideas for saving the Odeon Theatre with ''parties that have respect for such an aspiration and the positive outcome that might consequently arise,'' he said.

He has previously said he has no idea what Odeon Property Holdings would do if such a request (to move the roof  was made. ''We would visit it at the time, I guess," he said.

Tim Smith, of Smith Crane and Construction, said his company could move the roof for between $5000 and $6000 dollars.

Do you know of any other road barriers that seem to be wasting public money? Email martin.vanbeynen@press.co.nz

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