Trust fighting to save 1939 convent

03:10, Aug 19 2014
Sacred Heart High School
HERITAGE HEARING: Historic Euphrasie House on Clyde St, Hamilton East.

The fate of Hamilton East landmark Euphraisie House lies in the outcome of an Environment Court hearing this week.

The Hamilton East Community Trust has appealed to the Environment Court in an attempt to stop demolition of the former convent, owned by the Catholic Diocese of Hamilton.

The diocese purchased the 1939 Spanish-revival-styled convent and hostel, along with the associated St Mary's Convent Chapel and hall, from the Institut de Notre Dame des Missions Trust Board in 2012.

Diocese general manager Greg Schmidt said an engineering report found there was no affordable way of bringing the three-storey, unreinforced masonry building up to required earthquake standards.

A consent for its demolition, supported by the Hamilton City Council, was sought and granted by independent commissioner Murray Kivell in April 2013.

A new two-storey diocesan centre is planned in its place.

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The smaller chapel, with a Historic Places ranking and higher heritage value, is to be retained.

However, the Hamilton East Community Trust wants the Clyde St landmark retained and quickly appealed the demolition approval to the Environment Court.

The trust applied for and was awarded $38,000 from the Ministry for the Environment's Environmental Legal Assistance Fund to help with the appeal.

The Environment Court hearing is set down from Monday to Wednesday this week in the Hamilton District Court. geoff.lewis@fairfaxmedia.co.nz

Waikato Times