Government suprised by town hall decision
By Jessica Rowe
The Government isn't ruling out overriding the council's decision to save Christchurch's quake-damaged town hall.
The popular venue will cost $127 million to repair, and Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee is calling for ratepayers to see the damage inside before making a rash decision.
The town hall has internationally-acclaimed acoustics, and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa says it's right up there among the best in the world.
The repair cost will be spread out over four years, offset by an insurance payout of $69 million.
Mr Brownlee wouldn't be drawn on whether he plans to overturn the council's decision but his frustration was clear.
“[It’s] a little surprising, what it will mean now is the CBD plan will now need to be significantly altered to accommodate that decision. I think it would be really good if they had an opening day for people to see the damage inside the building.”
A new performing arts centre has already been drawn into the central city blueprint, but the mayor says the town hall decision was for the city to make, not Mr Brownlee.
“He has superpowers,” says Bob Parker. “He can fly over buildings in a single bound, but he has to work within the laws of the land and I think the minister will be respectful of the community's decision - even though it may complicate his life a little bit.”
Mr Brownlee believes the council's made the decision without seeing the relevant geotechnical information, and this could still change the fate of the city's treasured town hall.