Monday, June 2, 2014

The Price Of Saving History

Six months after the Feb.2011 EQ: courtesy PhilBee NZ
Restoring one of Christchurch's most prominent historic landmarks will cost at least $50 million.
The Canterbury Provincial Council buildings (cnr.Armagh/Durham Sts.), are widely acknowledged as NZ's most outstanding example of high Victorian gothic revival architecture.
They were severely damaged in the Feb.2011 earthquake: the stone chamber (c.1865), collapsed and the stone towers at both Armagh and Durham streets had to be deconstructed.
The Chch City Council, determined to see the buildings restored, has revealed the restoration work is likely to cost at least $50m, maybe as much as $70m, well over the council's expected $30m total insurance payout.
Deputy Mayor Vicki Buck is questioning where the extra money will come from and where the restoration of the buildings fits on the council's list of spending priorities. She says the council needs to start looking at the bigger picture and weighing where it's best to spend its money: "If there's limited capital we need to start looking at which are the most important assets."
Hmmmm, I'd have expected council to have been doing that from Day One, not starting now - three years after the EQs!
The council has secured some funding for the restoration. The Chch Earthquake Appeal Trust and the Ministry for Culture and Heritage were giving $2.5m towards repairing the complex's two stone towers. (The trust received about $100m in donations to help repair damaged properties across the city.)
Rebuilding the Canterbury Provincial Council buildings is due to start later this year.

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