Last obstacle to wrecking ball falls

IT BEGINS: Work gets underway at Temple View last month.
IT BEGINS: Work gets underway at Temple View last month.

The last obstacle to the Mormon Church taking a wrecking ball to several Temple View buildings has been removed.

The Temple View New Zealand Heritage Society withdrew its Environment Court appeal citing legal costs.

But in a twist, chairman Pita Witehira said the group had not ruled out overseas financial support.

Hamilton City Council and Waipa District Council had granted resource consents for the demolition of the boys' dormitories, health centre and engineering block at the now-defunct Church College.

Teacher housing stock and a wall along Tuhikaramea Rd were also earmarked for removal.

The church plans a new centre at the site, various roadworks and development of Legacy Park for recreation.

An update on the Church College Facebook page said the next phase of the project would start within months now the court appeal had been withdrawn.

Hamilton City Council planning guidance unit manager Debra Stan-Barton said the church had five years to complete the consented work.

Witehira said the society was unable to secure sufficient funding to proceed with its appeal, with costs estimated to reach $150,000.

An application to the Environment Legal Aid (ELA) fund for support was declined.

"The society had secured the support of leading architects and historians but found itself up against the unlimited financial resources of the church together with a determined campaign by the church to win support from Hamilton City Council planning officials and church members. . ," Witehira said.

The heritage society's view was that the entire college site was of heritage value to the country.

Witehira said the trust board's demolition plan was "an ungrateful insult to the families who donated time, money and resources to a project which ultimately created a rare landmark on the green fields of the Waikato".

The heritage society was considering other options, including possible support from heritage groups in the United States, he said.

Waikato Times