Buildings at Mormon campus to be bowled

AARON LEAMAN
Last updated 05:00 15/04/2014

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A series of smaller buildings and structures will be demolished at Temple View's Church College campus site from next week.

The Mormon Church confirmed work would begin on April 22 and include the bulldozing of covered walkways, footpaths and some carports and garages.

Project director Paul Coward said the removal of buildings was a permitted activity under the Hamilton City District Plan and was not part of the stake centre project currently under appeal by the Temple View Heritage Society.

"We have been working closely with Hamilton City Council and have obtained a certificate of compliance from the council to proceed with this work," Coward said.

In January, Hamilton City Council granted the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Trust Board consent to demolish the boys' dormitories, medical centre and 10 teachers' homes at the now-defunct Church College.

The church wants to clear the site and build a new stake centre, otherwise known as a church.

The consent includes permission for a car park alongside the stake centre, the construction of a new internal access road, upgrading of Tuhikaramea Rd - including removal and replacement of existing street trees - and the development of Legacy Park for recreational use.

The Temple View Heritage Society has appealed the resource consent to the Environment Court.

Heritage Society chairman Pita Witehira said he wasn't aware of plans to remove any accessory buildings this month and that he was limited in what he could say because of the pending court appeal.

Witehira said he would contact the council to confirm none of the covered walkways earmarked for demolition had heritage status.

New Zealand Historic Places Trust's lower northern area manager Fiona Low said she was aware of the demolition date and was working with the church over their development proposals.

Low said the trust was continuing to work with the church with regard to the ongoing care and maintenance of the remaining buildings that had "robust formal heritage protection" through covenants or by being scheduled on the Hamilton City District Plan.

"This heritage protection means the buildings will be enjoyed by people for many years to come," she said.

City councillor Dave Macpherson said he viewed the Temple View buildings as historic and unique and was not happy with the church's attitude that they, and not the community, should decide the buildings' future.

"I know, first-hand in some cases, that there are facilities out there that could well be used by the whole city that we've got a shortage of, like a swimming pool and a recreation centre.

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"But they [church] just want to bowl them because it might cost a bit to do them up."

Architectural historian and heritage consultant Dr Ann McEwan, who has been advising the Temple View Heritage Society, said typically many people didn't appreciate heritage buildings until they were gone.

"A lot of people struggle to imagine what something will look like until it's happened and that's likely to be the case at Temple View, McEwan said.

"A lot of people use Tuhikaramea Rd and if you start bulldozing stuff that will be a visual sign for people who might not have thought about how things were going to translate there." aaron.leaman@waikatotimes.co.nz

- Waikato

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