Christchurch MPs are to receive NZ’s heaviest Heritage Open Letter (a 15kg stone tablet) addressed to Prime Minister John Key and Ministers, along with a heritage petition signed by 5000.
Media release from:
Historic Places Canterbury, IConIC, Christchurch Civic Trust, 21 May 2013
At a Heritage Rally this FRIDAY 24TH MAY, 12.30PM at PETER SCOULAR PARK, TUAM ST (opp. former Civic Offices), Christchurch MPs are to receive NZ’s heaviest Heritage Open Letter (a 15kg stone tablet) addressed to Prime Minister John Key and ministers, along with a heritage petition signed by 5000. The MPs will present the open letter / petition in the House at the next session, Tuesday May 28th.
The rally will be addressed by speakers who are passionate about the importance of heritage buildings to the city:
Eugenie Sage, Green MP: Spokesperson, Christchurch
Lianne Dalziel, Labour MP: Spokesperson, Canterbury Earthquake Recovery
Dave Henderson: Odeon Theatre owner
Yani Johanson: Christchurch City Councillor, Chair of Community, Recreation and Culture Committee
MPs attending the rally will be presented with the open letter stone tablet and petition which express heartfelt anger and disappointment about the destruction of Christchurch heritage.
Sixteen Christchurch heritage groups have endorsed the open letter, including Historic Places Canterbury, Christchurch Civic Trust, IConIC, The Wizard of Christchurch Ltd, Christchurch Heritage Trust, Great Christchurch Buildings Trust. 5000+ have signed the heritage petition.
“At the rally Historic Places Canterbury will call for all heritage demolition to be halted within two weeks of the rally and demand that the long-awaited Heritage Recovery Programme must be published within the next month,” says Chair of HPC, Mark Gerrard.
Ross Gray, Deputy Chair of HPC, says “It is outrageous that over 200 listed heritage buildings have been demolished since September 2010; local citizens and visitors to Christchurch are shocked and angered at the scale of heritage demolition, unprecedented in the world!”
The rally will take place within the area where important heritage buildings are to be demolished as part of the CCDU Recovery Plan: the Odeon Theatre, Lawrie and Wilson building, the former Civic Offices, the Majestic Theatre, the Ng Gallery building, the Hutchinson Motors building and others.
“It is appalling that the CCDU Recovery Plan specifically calls for many heritage buildings to be demolished for the Green Frame, roading, parking and transportation. This is completely unacceptable, especially given how much has already been destroyed,” Mark Gerrard says.
Associate Professor Ian Lochhead: “It is a well-recognised principle that the greenest building is the one that already exists. Peter Scoular Park honours the former City Engineer who was instrumental in the retention of the original Millers building as the (former) Civic Offices. Now CCDU intends to destroy this important building for the bus exchange,” he says. “This is completely unacceptable.”
“We believe that the city’s most historic theatre, the Odeon, and its neighbour the Lawrie and Wilson building, are to be sacrificed for the new ECan building and parking. This is outrageous,” says Dr Lynne Lochhead, former Canterbury Branch Chair, NZHPT.
Ross Gray says, “Opened in 1930 and the city’s first fully steel-framed building, the beautiful Majestic Theatre could continue to make a significant contribution to the city’s cultural life”.
“The NG building is a shining example of what determined and loving owners can do to restore an historic building in an otherwise largely devastated urban landscape. That it should be threatened by the proposed stadium is completely unacceptable,” says Mark Gerrard.
Citizens, heritage advocates, heritage professionals and heritage property owners are completely fed up with this continued mindless heritage destruction. If the call for a halt to heritage demolitions is not heeded by the National-led Government and CERA, further actions will follow which will demonstrate a determination to retain what little remains of our built heritage.
021 206 3620
On behalf of: Historic Places Canterbury, IConIC, Christchurch Civic Trust