"...Historic Places Canterbury chairman Mark Gerrard believes the council is doing a good job with its damaged heritage, and is being "very thorough" with its tendering process.
He says the council benefits by having some "really good staff" who listen to the community and take pride in the buildings.
Some are of the sites are harder than others to find a use for, and some are better suited to community rather than commercial use, Gerrard says.
"They are very very special buildings. We are very happy that they are safe and they are going to be restored - the council is weighing up what is best for them and finding an appropriate use.
"Their value is not just the architecture, each one has its own individual stories, they are a reminder of people who have come before us," says Gerrard.
He believes Harry Ell, the naturalist whose vision established the Sign of the Takahe and Sign of the Kiwi as Port Hills rest stops, would approve of today's walkers and cyclists enjoying hospitality in the buildings.
"People need to be able to see them. They are our buildings, they are our gems, our treasures."
The following is the text of a letter published in The Press. The letter was sent by HPC Chair Mark Gerrard in his role as Convenor of “Victoria Square - No Need For Change" campaign committee.
" The re-opening of a restored Victoria Square will be celebrated by the many Christchurch Residents who supported the successful “Victoria Square- No Need For Change” campaign.
I am writing this letter to publicly “Thank” the many concerned residents who wrote letters to the Press, rang ZB Talkback, emailed their MPs, turned up for the Yellow Ribbon Picnic and attended the Knox Church Forum. I wish to acknowledge the “No Need For Change” committee, the volunteers, the residents who encouraged us, the Knox Forum panellists and Chris Lynch, and Historic Places Canterbury and The Christchurch Civic Trust who funded the campaign.
Whilst we celebrate the re-opening, we must all acknowledge the skill and thoughtfulness of the original Designers who, 30 odd years ago, created this very special space we know and love as Victoria Square.
Victoria Square is “Christchurch at its best” and it sets the standard for which the quality and success of the CBD rebuild will be judged.
The re-opening will be a momentus event. However, for most of us Victoria Square is about the quiet enjoyment of reclining under a tree, sitting on a park bench and stopping at night to enjoy the Bowker Fountain water display and the light show.
Canterbury Provincial Chambers to remain mothballed for 11 years The Press Online.
" ... Historic Places Trust Canterbury chairman Mark Gerrard believed the council should ask the Government to help fund the cost of restoring the chambers because of its national and international significance. ...
"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…)