Council halts Cranmer demo after scuffle
Thu, 11 Oct 2012 6:09p.m.
By Jeff Hampton
Passions boiled over as campaigners out to save a much-loved Christchurch heritage building ended up in confrontation with Mayor Bob Parker.
Mr Parker tried to push one of them out of a council meeting, which ended in a significant victory for the campaigners even though they'd been booted out of the discussion.
“I'm not going to sit here and listen to lies,” heritage campaigner Lorraine North said before she stormed out of the meeting.
Interruptions continued, and Mr Parker was fed up.
“I'm now going to ask for the gallery to be cleared,” he said.
The discussion was over the demolition of Cranmer Courts, a heritage building protesters say is being hacked to death. They wanted the council to step in and save it.
Mr Parker then decided to enforce his own ruling, getting physical with protester Richard Hamilton.
Mr Hamilton took photos of the angry mayor.
“He didn't need to confront me like that, he did push me,” he said.
Earlier, campaigners Ms North and associate professor Ian Lochead put their case for a month-long halt on demolition.
“UNESCO for many years, at least since 1972, has been passing declarations which New Zealand has signed to protects places of cultural and historic significance, and we're going against that and no one is doing anything about it,” Ms North said.
Mr Lochead said people don’t know what they are destroying.
“It's that inability to discriminate between buildings that are genuinely old dangers and ones that are of heritage value to the people of Christchurch.”
With protesters shut outside feeling despondent, the council actually went along with to their request to seek the stay of a month.
It's a sign that city authorities are starting to take notice of people's passion for the few remaining heritage buildings in Christchurch.
But just who can actually stop the demolition is already getting murky. The Christchurch Earthquake Recovery Authority said it can't act on the council's request - that's over to the building's owners.
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15/10/2012 3:35:18 p.m.
James, it's not all of ChCh people, most are too tired to fight anymore. This building is owned by private people. Sure its a beautiful building, but the owners aren't willing to or can't afford to repair it. Heritage it may be, but its not a public building, owners are responsible for saving it. There is only so much money available to fix our city. We have had awesome support from all NZ'ers, and maybe we don't stress how grateful we are often enough. We're just so tired. Thankyou.
12/10/2012 8:01:18 p.m.
Whats up with Christchurch people.??? These old buildings in their time were great, and I have enjoyed viewing them when I visited the City... BUT damaged as they are, they are now a safety risk, so why not demolish them and replace them with modern "retro" builings, that could look virtually the same but be up to all modern standards, double-glazed, and insulated, and energy efficient for the future. Look forward, not behind, as you Christchurchites should be going that way !! Remember, the rest of the country is suffering financially in helping to support you thru your tragedy.. Cheers, James.
11/10/2012 8:16:10 p.m.
No one has ever mentioned how much it costs to clear the site. This should be offset against the value of the land. What a waste of energy, materials, and city character. Such action would not happen anywhere else in the world. People living in a class 1 heritage building know what the situation is and should show show due respect.
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