More Council Waste

NZ Herald

A crappy old building in downtown Auckland which was given a rate payer funded make over to make its wealthy neighbours happy during the rugby world cup, is now been considered to be given heritage status.

But forcing hertiage status will make it even harder for the owner or future owners to turn it from an eyesore into something that is actually productive.

If the council really wanted to help the suituation, they should work with the owner, to help him untangle all the complex rules in the district plan and building code to try and get the building up and running with tennants who will actually look after the building. This will create work, jobs, accommodation, and taxes across the board and ensure the building is actually cared for and protected in the future.

Heritage Rules Kill

I am not one to pander to those who consider the architectural merits of this building or that and lobby councils to retain clapped out old buildings in so-called heritage zones. They always seek to have special rules for “heritage” buildings.

The simple fact is that those rules have killed people:

Attempts to repair a Christchurch building, which collapsed in last February’s earthquake killing an Israeli tourist, were “limited” by heritage rules, an inquiry has heard.

Ofer Binyamin Mizrahi, 22, was holidaying in Christchurch, staying at a backpackers in the central city.

During last February’s quake, he and three friends were eating lunch inside a white Mitsubishi van parked outside the old Winnie Bagoes restaurant at 194 Gloucester St.

Mizrahi recognised the danger, which allowed his friends to escape the van, but he was unable to get out.

The Canterbury earthquakes royal commission today heard the three-storey, unreinforced masonry heritage building, known as Wave House, was damaged in the September 2010 and December 2010 quakes.

Temporary securing work was completed on February 11 last year and a protective cordon around the building was removed soon after.

The building was still damaged and deemed quake-prone, but did not pose greater risk to the public than before September 4 2010, the commission was told.

Owners’ representative David Wallace, of Devonia Realty, said he had wanted repairs to begin in December but there were “issues” with the Christchurch City Council because of the building’s heritage status.

“We were told that [starting immediately] was not going to be the case. There were rules and regulations to be followed and that we had to confer with [the] council on every and all moves,” he said.

Work did not start until early February.

“Everything had to be done in a numerical way, blocks had to be numbered, piled and kept safe. There were very limited things we could do,” Wallace said.

“It was a complex situation made more complicated by the heritage status of the building.”

A heritage building protected by heritage killed an Israeli tourist… ironically one of the ones Phil Goff was never briefed about. I think one thing councils could and should do is place very prominent plaques on the outside of heritage buildings and those things protected by special heritage rules so that we know precisely which buildings to avoid going into.