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City Council To Be Asked To Save Church

The Christchurch City Council is to be urged by three Councillors to take steps to save the Samoan Church in Sydenham.

The chairwoman of the Environment Committee, Cr. Anna Crighton, and Crs. Sue Wells and Barry Corbett have been negotiating with the church’s owner for a way to retain the building.

The owner wants to demolish it if it is not sold.

The Environment Committee at its meeting last week unanimously agreed to support the retention of the church.

Cr. Crighton is to ask the Council at its 22 February meeting to support the retention of the church at the corner of Brougham and Colombo streets by helping the owner with a grant for strengthening the building to enable him to develop apartments inside, or, alternatively, ask that the Council buy the church and land.

If the Council bought the church Cr. Crighton says the Council could consider building low-cost housing on the land and using the church as a community centre.

“This means that the interior of the church, which is vitally important, is retained and restored,” she says.

She says retention is vital, not only for group two heritage reasons, but also as a landmark, its grouping in the streetscape, aesthetics and to anchor the entrance to Sydenham town.

“This is a unique and historic part of our city. It’s the only character strip shopping precincts left and the residents and businesses are proud of it,” Cr. Crighton says.

Additionally, the area has been identified as being in need of community facilities and assistance.

“I have been inundated with requests to start petitions to save the church,” she says.

Cr. Wells says that the Samoan Church matter could be the one issue that pushes the Council into deciding how it can best assist the retention of heritage buildings.

Further information: Cr. Anna Crighton: 025 983 206 or Cr. Sue Wells: 025 229 0505.

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