Submission from IConIC (Intersts in Conserving the Identity of Christchurch)
on Christchurch City Council Three year & Long Term Plan
IConIC was formed following 22 February 2011 and represents a diverse coalition of central city property and business owners, architects, engineers, planners, heritage professionals and heritage advocates who are all committed to the role heritage buildings play in the economic recovery and social revitalisation of central Christchurch.
We wish to make the following submissions on the Three Year and Long Term Plan:
- 1. IConIC strongly supports the CCC’s commitment to the full restoration and strengthening of the Christchurch Town Hall. In doing so we wish to emphasise the importance of retaining the architectural integrity of the original design and the need to adopt best-practice heritage principles (including those embodied in the ICOMOS NZ Charter 2010) in the restoration of the building.
- 2. Given that there is already a functional AMI stadium in use we do not support further expenditure on this capital project when so many other city facilities require replacement or remediation. While a new stadium is a desirable long-term goal we do not see this as a priority in the next three years.
- 3. We support the continued funding of built heritage within the city’s long-term plan but wish to express our concern at the reduction of funds initially proposed for the Landmark Heritage Fund of $2.7 million to the current $2 million. We are also concerned that $700,000 was diverted from heritage funding in preliminary discussion on the LTP in order to fund street enhancement in the CBD. We would submit that the retention of heritage buildings is the best kind of ‘street enhancement’ the city can achieve. We seek a return to the $2.7 million funding for heritage as originally proposed.
- 4. We strongly support the heritage objectives of the LTP, including the completion of statements of significance for all notable buildings, the continuation of heritage grants and the introduction of a new Heritage Recovery Policy.
- 5. However, in view of the dramatic loss of heritage since 2010 it is essential that the plan identifies the need for a complete reassessment of heritage listings, including a review of the significance of surviving heritage buildings and the addition of new listings. With the loss of so many heritage buildings, surviving heritage and character buildings will take on new relevance in the post-earthquake city. Listing of modern heritage is also in need of urgent review. It is worth noting that following the 1931 Napier earthquake it was recognised that all surviving buildings were of significance to the city.
- 6. IConIC requests that building consent fees and other related charges be waived for applications relating to heritage buildings.
- 7. IConIC is deeply concerned at the prospect of further, unnecessary losses of heritage buildings as a consequence of road-widening initiatives foreshadowed in the CCDU Transport Plan, especially the proposed widening of Manchester Street. Not only will widening of streets in the CBD fragment the inner city but it will directly impact on the goal of creating a green and pedestrian-friendly environment. This is particularly important in terms of pedestrian access from the new CBD to the eastern frame.
- 8. We also support the retention, restoration and strengthening of Council owned heritage buildings that are threatened by the proposals of the CCDU Blueprint. These include the former Miller’s /CCC Administration building and the Lawry and Wilson Building.
- 9. IConIC strongly supports the retention of all the CCC’s heritage assets, including the Canterbury Provincial Council Buildings, the former Municipal Offices/Our City, Mona Vale Homestead and Gatehouses, the Sign of the Takahe, Kiwi and Bellbird. We note the exemplary work carried out on the Provincial Council Buildings to consolidate the building and recover heritage fabric, and the shoring of the Our City Building and look forward to the CCC’s commitment to the full recovery of these buildings in the course of the next three years.
- 10. We support the CCC’s on-going commitment to the Arts Centre of Christchurch and note the exemplary progress that is being made on the conservation and strengthening of those buildings.
- 11. We also support the CCC’s on-going commitment to funding the Canterbury Museum and we support the Museum’s initiatives to ensure the resilience of the building against the threat of future earthquakes.
- 12. IConIC supports the review of the Urban Design Panel and submits that the panel should include membership with heritage expertise. We also consider it is desirable that reports from the panel should be reported directly to commissioners rather than being filtered through staff reports.
- 13. We note CCC’s support for and funding of the Avon River Park. In the development of designs for the park IConIC urges Council to recognise the importance of the Avon corridor as a heritage asset and cultural landscape that is one of the defining characteristics of the city. We support the increase in indigenous planting that has occurred over the last decade but we believe that this must be balanced against the character-defining qualities of the mature trees, grassed banks and gravel paths that are an essential part of the city. Hard landscaping and board-walks are incompatible with this character and should be kept to a minimum.
IConIC wishes to be heard in support of its submission. Contacts are:
Dr Ian Lochhead
17 April 2013