“Doom for heritage” Letter To The Editor [The Press]

Ross Gray has generously supplied us with the text of a published "Letter To The Editor" [The Press 1st January 2013]

Graham Townsend asks why we are allowing the government to get away with its arrogant removal of our democratic rights in Canterbury (December 26.)

The recent Rally for Democracy, shamefully the first such in this democratic nation’s history, was organised to address just this sorry state of affairs. Perhaps we should have invited Sir Geoffrey Palmer to speak.

It’s not only the Environment Canterbury and schools travesties. Since May 2011, the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) has ruthlessly dictated the fate of the city’s heritage. Unwilling owners of non-dangerous heritage buildings seeking “opportunistic demolition” have been aided and abetted by Cera to blatantly circumvent the normal democratic Resource Management Act process: the Occidental, the Regent, the Guthrey Centre, the former railway station and many others - unlike the Peterborough Centre whose owners fought so hard for its retention.

The Cera juggernaut is set to continue in 2013 with approval for the Transport Authority to demolish Peter Beaven’s incomparable Lyttelton Tunnel Authority building, recently accorded high status in the Phaidon Atlas of 20th Century World Architecture - one of only six New Zealand buildings included. The Town Hall is still under threat from Gerry Brownlee.

Warwick Isaacs’ Christchurch Central Development Unit blueprint mindset spells doom for numerous key historic buildings.

On heritage matters alone, 2013 will be as democratically challenging as ever. There is no doubt that the voice of the people will be much needed.

Ross Gray


The Press, January 1, 2013

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