"Ōamaru courthouse to reopen after years of facing closure" RNZ News Online.
"The 135-year-old courthouse was closed in December 2011 after being deemed earthquake-prone.
The future of the courthouse looked dire when a government engineering report found strengthening could cost upwards of $4 million. ...
" ... Initially the figure of $4m-6m was going to make it very difficult to retain the court. Under those numbers, it was probably going to be a case of 'Well, we'll just shut it down.' "
But instead of feeling defeated, Mr (Bill) Dean did his own research - employing an engineer to assess the courthouse then asking for a price on the proposed repairs.
The cost was closer to $350,000 - and the assessment found the building was unlikely to collapse in an earthquake and did not need to be closed in the first place.
But Mr Dean said it took several years for the paperwork to be accepted and remedial work to be completed. ...
"Objector Ross Gray, acting chair of the Civic Trust and deputy chair of Historic Places Canterbury, said the buildings concerned were at the heart of an extremely sensitive heritage precinct and any further loss of heritage buildings in the area was unthinkable."
"Ross Gray, acting chair of the Civic Trust and deputy chair of Historic Places Canterbury, said he would be appalled if the GCRA was applied in this case.
About 250 Christchurch heritage buildings have been lost as a result of the earthquakes, those remaining deserved protection, Gray said, and he was surprised Heritage New Zealand had not opposed demolition of the two chambers. ..."
Dr Anna Crighton Chair of the Christchurch Heritage Trust and Founding President of Historic Places Aotearoa has generously provided the text for the Op-Ed that appeared in the Press print and online. (18th October 2017)
"Saving heritage buildings can be a win for owners and the public alike"
The imperative for the rescue of a historic building is reliant on one significant aspect – a willing owner. Despite the destruction of the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes followed by CERA’s ‘scorched earth’ policy, there were determined and diligent building owners who successfully proceeded with their restoration plans despite the government’s blue print parameters. It is fortunate that some of the most noteworthy heritage buildings in the central city had visionary leaders who saw the benefits in repairing their buildings during the recovery period. The Arts Centre of Christchurch, Christ’s College, the Heritage Hotel (Old Government Buildings), the Canterbury Club, Knox Church and the Isaac Theatre Royal to name a few. The Press stated in its Editorial of 21 February 2015 ‘The privately-funded labour of love that has returned the Isaac Theatre Royal to us in this past year has done more for central city vibrancy, so far, than has come out of the blueprint’. (more…)