The following is the text of the submission by Historic Places Canterbury to the Christchurch City Council.
Submission on the
Christchurch City Three Year Plan 2013-16 (Draft) Christchurch Otautahi
From Historic Places Canterbury
Chair Mark Gerrard
Historic Places Canterbury wishes to discuss the main points of this Submission at the hearings to held 13,14,15,17,20,21 May 2013.
Mayor and Councillors:
We would like to take this opportunity to formally acknowledge the work of the Christchurch City Council’s Heritage Response Staff (and related individuals) and their efforts to save the City’s Built Heritage.
Historic Places Canterbury wishes to thank the Councillors for the “Cathedral Pause “ motion, the Cranmer Courts delay “request” and the decision to retain the Town Hall!
We wish to acknowledge the care taken with the making safe and preservation of the Provincial Council Buildings and the old Municipal “Our City” Buildings.
Comment: The Councillors will be surprised to learn, that despite the announcement of the saving of a significant heritage building, the Peterborough Centre, the Council Heritage Staff’s efforts publicly “thanked” and Committee Chair Councillor Johanson giving a speech at a Media Conference covered by the national media coverage on Print TV and Radio, we could not find a Council “Peterborough Centre” Media Release.
Historic Places Canterbury endorses the Council decision to retain and restore the Town Hall and endorses the Council decision as outlined in the “Major Community Facilities Rebuild” (Page 52 Vol 1).
“Christchurch Recovery and Rebuild Issues and Challenges”
Quote: “CERA’s Christchurch Central Development Unit (CCDU) has released its blueprint for the central city and the Council is working closely with the CCDU to make this a reality.” (Page 19 Vol 1)
The Council’s role it is acknowledged has been substantially changed under the CERA act.
We request that this draft plan state that the Councillors as Christchurch’s elected Civic Leaders actively commit to ensuring the Council informs, consults meaningfully and publicly/ privately advocates for Christchurch’s Residents to Central Government, CERA /CCDU on its plans for the City.
Historic Places Canterbury in the “Accessible City” Consultation has identified two Council listed Heritage Buildings- the former Civic Offices and the Lawrie Wilson building - and the privately owned Odeon Theatre façade will be demolished by the proposed Tuam Street alterations. The Majestic Theatre is under threat by the widening of Manchester Street. The demolition of these building is not mentioned in the “Accessible City” document.
Informing the residents of the heritage outcomes of this document and others should be the Council’s responsibility.
The former Civic Building is only mentioned once in this draft where the Council outlines how it intends to spend the proceeds of this State initiated demolition of this listed building.
“163 Tuam Street (former Civic Building). Estimated sale proceeds of $23.4 million will be contributed to the Transport Interchange project.” (Page 52 Vol 1)
Comment: The word advocate is only used once in Volume 1of this Plan Draft .(referring to Community Boards)
Historic Places Canterbury requests that the Council strenuously oppose the demolition of the listed buildings- the former Civic Building, Lawrie Wilson, the Odeon Theatre facade and Majestic Theatre.
Historic Places Canterbury requests the Council advocate strongly to Central Government and CCDU for a reconsideration of the CCDU Central City Blueprint to ensure the retention of the central city’s built heritage.
In addition we request the Council move to explore options such as reinstating the Central City Shuttle which will facilitate the flow of pedestrians through the Central Core and will give flexibility to the location of the proposed Transport Interchange.
Comment: There is an extensive amount of empty land available (Central City business owners informal commentary is that up to 80% of the Central City will be demolished) so there are design options that would allow the retention of the little build heritage that is left. The retention of the One Way Streets is contradictory to the Council’s stated wish to have a central city core that is cycle/ pedestrian and central city resident friendly.
Historic Places Canterbury submits that in any issues that directly affect Built Heritage, the Council, in this plan, directly states that it will consult widely with the stakeholders and interested parties before it makes any formal submissions and it puts in place measures for Christchurch Residents to monitor performance.
Illustrative Comment: At a “Building Seismic Performance consultation” public meeting a Council Officer publicly stated the Council fully endorsed the proposals. The Officer in conversation with me afterwards did not disagree with my observation that I could not recall any public consultation, seminars etc by the Staff on the C.C.C. submission on “Build Seismic Performance” and generally agreed with my description the Staff Report and recommendations were informed by their regulatory experience etc. The report was endorsed by the Planning Committee and sent to the full Council. I cannot recall it being considered by the Community, Recreation and Culture Committee, which has built heritage within its brief. I have no doubt listed building owners and heritage advocates will have relished the chance to be consulted on this by the Council.
2013-16 Community Outcomes for Christchurch
Historic Places Canterbury endorses the stated Community outcome:
Christchurch’s culture and heritage are valued
• The city’s identity is enhanced by its buildings and public spaces
• The city’s heritage and taonga are conserved for future generations” (Page 38 Vol 1)
Historic Places Canterbury requests the contribution of built heritage to Christchurch’s character be explicitly recognized in the Community Outcome Liveable City
Christchurch has a strong central city …
• The central city has a distinctive character and identity” (Page 37 Vol 1)
Historic Places Canterbury requests that for listed Heritage Buildings- Resource and Building Consent Fees be waived or fully refunded upon completion of work to an approved standard.
Comment: The owners of Heritage buildings are custodians of ‘public good’ treasures “taonga”. Most work on heritage buildings will in probability require a carefully prepared Resource Consent with the added input of the Council’s Heritage Staff. In addition there is the cost of skilled tradesmen. The Council should consider the plight of the listed Heritage homeowner, whose building is uninhabitable, or the High Street owner with a tenantless damaged listed heritage building, who is waiting for CCDU to decide the meaning of the Innovative Precinct, and who are considering whether to incur the personal expense of repair knowing the Staff will critically examine their plans and they will incur fees for Resource and Building Consents.
Parks and Open Spaces:
Historic Places Canterbury endorses:
Service: “Heritage buildings and structures (e.g. fountains, clocks, statues, and outdoor artworks)”
Target: “This includes ensuring open heritage buildings and structures are safe,
appropriately maintained, and serviced to ensure their heritage values are protected, and that they can be appropriately enjoyed by the community.” (Page 167 Vol 1)
Historic Places Canterbury requests that current funding be maintained and not be reduced.
“9,948 (2012/13) Garden and Heritage Parks 9,258 (2013/14) 9,509(2014/15) 9,871 (2015/16)”
(Page 175 Vol 1 – Budget item)
Democracy and Governance:
Historic Places Canterbury requests that using “At least a certain percentage of residents” (Page 199 Vol 1) as a measure is not meaningful for some of the activities Democracy and Governance are responsible i.e. Submissions and timely delivery of Agendas etc. and requests a more appropriate monitoring be adopted.
Illustrative Comment: Currently Historic Places Canterbury has three Deputations to the Community Recreation and Culture Committee - with no correspondence received indicating the result of the deputations
1. Deputation : December 2011- there has been no response or reply . (Some of the information requested was released to The Press [13/10/2012] and featured on the front page.)
2. Deputation: May 2012- A Staff report was presented to a subsequent CRAC meeting. A motion was passed that I be sent a copy – I have not a received a copy of the Report.
3. Deputation: October 2012: The C.C.C. modified its Standing Orders in December 2012 but no reponse, reply or update.
City Planning and Development
City and community long-term policy and planning
Urban Design Panel:
Historic Places Canterbury requests the Urban Design Panel include in its pool, professionals with recognised heritage qualifications / professional experiance.
Historic Places Canterbury requests that the Urban Design Panel Review (Page 247 Vol 1) investigates a more formal role in the Councils Planning Processes.
The Urban Design Panel (recognised by the C.C.C. as having expertise) does not report directly to the Resource Consent Panels / Commissioners.
Monitoring of the District Plan:
“Monitoring and Research”:
“Monitoring and reporting programmes are developed for Community Outcomes”
“Community Outcomes monitoring report prepared”
Historic Places Canterbury endorses this process as outlined in the draft and requests urgency be given to Heritage Community Outcomes. The statement infers that the Council has not been systematically monitoring Community Outcomes and we request the Council publicly detail the monitoring it has conducted.
“Monitor the operation and effect of the
Monitor operation and effectiveness of Christchurch City District Plan
Release Section 35 monitoring report at least every 5 years – next due by 2014/15” (Page 251 –Vol 1)
Historic Places Canterbury submits this is a broad coarse measure and that it should be supplemented by continual monitoring using case studies determined through sampling and the study of contentious heritage planning decisions to determine the real outcomes for the Residents / Businesses’ in the Communities effected. These case studies should be publicly made available with planning solutions proposed.
Comment: The Council Staff have a focus on Transient Developers ie. those that buy, develop and quickly on sell however the Council should recognize that the Residents are the Real Developers (as opposed to the Transient Developers) as they have made a long term commitment to the continual economical/ social development of their assets, street environment and community.
Historic Places Canterbury requests the Council formally assess the process of reviewing of the District Plan, investigate and provide a public explanation why there has not been a significant update or additional new listings of Heritage Buildings since 1996.
Comment: The lack of new heritage listings added to the District Plan does indicate a problem between the Councils declared built heritage intentions (as evidenced in this draft plan) and its actual performance. Built Heritage is real and the extreme paucity of new heritage listings on the District Plan indicates a lack of real Council commitment to heritage.
Heritage Protection: (Page 253 Vol 1)
Historic Places Canterbury endorses the Activity, Targets etc as outlined in the Draft Three Year Plan.
We submit that this Draft Plan recognise that as a result of the Earthquakes Built Heritage is still under a real ongoing daily threat (ignoring the long standing problem of the paucity of new listing under the District Plan since 1996) and the Council explicitly recognise this very immediate situation in this draft and recognise this in the targets set (and related budgets).
Historic Places Canterbury submits that the Council set the Target of monitoring the performance of the Council’s own Staff and Council Committees in their application of the Council’s Heritage Policy in any of their actions that has implications for built heritage.
Historic Places Canterbury submits that the Community Recreation and Culture Committee must be briefed and consulted on any heritage issues, Staff reports etc that are considered by any of the other Council Committees and it receive monitoring reports on the effectiveness of heritage Policy and its application and this be included in the targets etc in this Draft Plan.
Comment: It is our practical experience of attending Council Committee Meetings that the four major Council Committees deal with issues directly related to built heritage. It is a practical necessity that resources be made available to the Community Recreation and Culture Committee to monitor the Councils Policy and actions in regards to Built Heritage.
Historic Places Canterbury requests that as Built Heritage is real, with the need for real solutions, the Draft Plan should include in its targets that case studies be conducted so the Council understands the problems faced by listed building owners.
Comment: This will have a practical positive outcome as the Council Heritage Staff are called upon to provide policy advice, heritage advocacy and on occasions when Christchurch residents seek advice and if they have access to updated case studies the effectiveness of their actions will be strengthened.
Historic Places Canterbury submits that it is concerned it can find no reference to “Heritage Week” in this Draft Plan. Most major and minor New Zealand City’s have a heritage celebration and we request that it be reinstated.
Historic Places Canterbury is concerned about the lack of financial detail contained in this Draft Plan. It is difficult to provide meaningful feedback when there is no detailed financial information. It would be helpful to know for example how resources have been broadly allocated to advocacy / education, Heritage Week, Specialist Consultants, Case Studies etc as this aids us in making our Submission informed and relevant. We submit that more detailed financial information be readily made available in future draft plans and documentation.
Heritage Protection: Annual Plan Budget:
“6,412 (2012/13) Heritage Protection 5,015 (2013/14) 4,988 (2014/15) 4,916 (2015/15)”
(Page 255 Vol 1 Budget line)
Historic Places Canterbury very strongly submits that the current 2012/13 funding levels should be kept and not reduced. Christchurch still faces the immediate prospect of the ongoing loss of its listed Built Heritage and character buildings as a direct result of the earthquakes.
We consider it to be very short sighted and in contradiction to the Councils own Heritage statements contained in this draft documents, to cut resources and funding when there is still a very real threat to the City’s Built Heritage.
We submit there is a danger that the Council could be exposed to negative public commentary when it becomes widely known it is prepared to quietly accept and spend the proceeds of the proposed demolition of the listed former Civic Offices ($23.4 million) and reduce funding for Heritage Protection.
“Capital Programme_|_Proposed Capital Programme Summary by Activity” (Page 289 Vol 1)
“Heritage Protection Aspirational - Special Projects 2,000 (2013/14) 2,091 (2014/15) 2,174 (2015/16)”
The City Council has adopted the CENTRAL CITY HERITAGE LANDMARK GRANTS policy (March 2013) and gave out grants totaling $2.7 million. The proposed amounts in this draft document represent a significant reduction in funding.
Historic Places Canterbury strongly submits that the funds for these “Aspirational Projects” should be kept at $2.7 million and not be reduced.
The Central City’s Built Heritage has and is still being severely depleted and the Council states in this draft the built heritage are important treasures and we submit it should demonstrate its commitment to these statements by ensuring the funding for these heritage aspirational project is is maintained at current levels.
Rates Remission Policy: (Page 129 Vol 2)
Historic Places Canterbury submits where a listed building is not habitable as a home or cannot be used as a Commercial Building (eg. High Street ) that whilst awaiting for repairs to be completed the owners be granted full rates remission. The Council has recognized by listing these buildings that they are special and an asset that contributes to Christchurch.
We submit that if you are an owner of an uninhabited listed building you will be paying for C.C.C. through your temporary accommodation and thus the Council is income double dipping by rating a heritage owner for two residences.
The Council has stated that the Central City revitalization is important. Therefore, the Council should recognise that it is a major disincentive to rate the listed commercial building owner who has the additional expense and obligation for a building the Council regards as important to the Community.
Thank you for receiving our Submission.
Chair Historic Places Canterbury.
19 April 2013
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