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Heritage Order Sought For Part Of Queen Mary Site

HURUNUI DISTRICT COUNCIL

MEDIA RELEASE

Friday, 15 October 2004

Heritage Order Sought For Part Of Former Queen Mary Site

The Hurunui District Council is seeking a Heritage Order over 4.8 hectares of the former Queen Mary Hospital site in Hanmer Springs.

The Heritage Order is being advertised on Saturday 16 October 2004. The public will have until 19 November 2004 to make submissions. The Council, as a Heritage Protection Authority, will hear these submissions and make a decision on the Heritage Order.

In the meantime, however, the Heritage Order as advertised has the effect of freezing any development of the site affected by the order unless approved by the Council. This includes adding or removing buildings, trees, fences, or grassed areas in the northern part of the Queen Mary site, the Chisholm Ward and the Soldiers Block.

"The Council has decided to act now to protect the significant historical heritage value of the site and buildings and it has an obligation to do so as the Heritage Protection Authority," says Andrew Feierabend, Manager Environmental Services at the Hurunui District Council.

The Council has been involved in talks over the future protection of the land. In August it consulted with the Canterbury District Health Board on a range of options. These included considering a District Plan Change across the site which might be supported by a Heritage Order.

The District Health Board responded by applying for a Certificate of Compliance that if granted, would provide the right to remove trees that could harm the heritage value of the site.

The effect of issuing a Certificate of Compliance would be to freeze for five years the District Plan provisions as they were on the date the Certificate was applied for. This would be irrespective of any change the Council might wish to make to protect the heritage values on the site.

"The Council has considered a variety of options on how best to protect the significant heritage values of the site, and believes it is in the best interests of the local community to seek a Heritage Order to protect those values," says Andrew Feierabend.

"The Council has engaged in extensive consultation with the local community, relevant Ministers of the Crown, the District Health Board, as well as Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu over the heritage values of the site. The local community has made it clear that they wish to retain the heritage values of the site."

"The northern part of the site is at the heart of the Hanmer Springs Thermal Reserve. The Council is simply seeking to ensure that any development of the site should respect the heritage and amenity value of the site."

The Prime Minister acting as Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage has confirmed with the Council that: "¡Kthe former Hospital has significant heritage values¡K It is important that protection is provided."

This heritage includes not only the historic buildings of the former Queen Mary Hospital site, but the landscape, grassed areas and trees, which have become an integral part of the central Hanmer Springs township.

"The Council wants to positively encourage the use of buildings and site for new activities, so that Hanmer Springs can continue to grow and prosper and attract more residents, businesses and visitors," concluded Mr Feierabend.

Ends

Web: http://www.hurunui.govt.nz/

HURUNUI DISTRICT COUNCIL

BACKGROUNDER - QUESTION AND ANSWERS

Friday, October 15, 2004

Queen Mary Site Heritage Order

What is the Hurunui District Council doing?

It is seeking a Heritage Order over 4.8 hectares at the north end of the former Queen Mary Hospital site in Hanmer Springs.

Why is it necessary to seek a Heritage Order?

The Council considers that the former Queen Mary Hospital site at Hanmer Springs has special qualities, significance and importance at a local, regional and national level. The current provisions in the District Plan are inadequate to protect these special values. A Heritage Order would, however, protect these qualities and values.

The Council has received feedback confirming that the local community highly values the special qualities of the site and wants them protected, including if necessary by purchase of part of the site.

What is a Heritage Order?

The Council can give notice of a Heritage Order if it has the purpose of protecting:

- Any place of special interest, character, intrinsic or amenity value or visual appeal, or of special significance to the tangata whenua for spiritual, cultural or historic reasons

- Such area of land (if any) surrounding that place as is reasonable necessary for the purpose of ensuring the protection and reasonable enjoyment of that place

- The Resource Management Act defines a place of "special interest" as having "special cultural, archaeological, historical, scientific, ecological, or other interest".

How soon does a Heritage Order take effect?

A Heritage Order is of immediate interim effect from the time of notification (in this case 16 October 2004), therefore providing protection of the heritage values of the site. It takes priority over any resource consent or Certificate of Compliance that has been granted for the site.

What is the procedure for a Heritage Order?

The procedure following notification of a Heritage Order is similar to that for resource consents. People have a set time within which to make submissions on the proposed Order (in this case by 5pm, 19 November 2004). The Council, as Heritage Protection Authority, then holds a hearing of the Notice for the Heritage Order, and of submissions in support or opposition to it. The Council decision-maker must have regard to the content of the Heritage Order, and particular regard to whether the place merits protection, whether the Order is reasonably necessary, and whether the inclusion of any land around the place is necessary to ensure protection. The Council's decision will be whether the Heritage Order is confirmed, modified or withdrawn. It can also order that the Council reimburse the landowner for any additional costs of upkeep that are required by the making of the Heritage Order.

If there are no appeals against the decision, the Heritage Order becomes a part of the District Plan.

How will the Council ensure that the Heritage Order process will be fair?

Once the submission process is closed the Council will determine how the submissions will be heard. Options include the Council hearing submissions on it own or a panel of Councillors and commissioners or a commissioner sitting alone.

What rights does the land-owner have regarding the Heritage Order?

The Heritage Order will constrain the rights of the landowner. The landowner can apply to the Heritage Protection Authority for written consent to use the property in a way that would otherwise be lawful but for the heritage order. If the Council, acting as Heritage Protection Authority, refuses that consent, the property owner can appeal to the Environment Court.

Who owns the Queen Mary Hospital site?

The landowner of the Queen Mary site, which in total covers 15.3 ha, is the Canterbury District Health Board. The Minister of Health has approved the CDHB's resolution to sell the site following the closure of the hospital.

Who is seeking to buy the site?

The CDHB is negotiating a possible sale with Ngai Tahu pursuant to the latter's first right of refusal under the Ngai Tahu Claims Settlement Act.

Does the Council want to buy the site?

The Council has indicated that it wishes to purchase part of the land but this has nothing to do with the Heritage Order. The Council is acting in its statutory capacity as a Heritage Protection Authority. Its sole objective is to protect the heritage values in the area affected by the Order.

What is on the site?

Much of the site consists of open treed grounds, but there are numerous buildings, the four largest of which are the Chisholm Ward, the Soldiers Block, the Nurses Hostel and the Rutherford Block. The first two have recognised very important heritage values, and there are also numerous protected trees on the site. The south-western corner of the site near Argelins Road is lower lying and in rough pasture.

What consultation has occurred with the local community?

The Council prepared and made available two reports for public consultation, one in March and another in early June 2004. Eight parties responded to the proposals in the second report.

What consultation has occurred with the DHB and Ngai Tahu?

The Council has been consulting with both the DHB and Ngai Tahu concerning a possible change to the District Plan since April. The first draft District Plan change report was a preliminary one intended to spark discussion. It proposed a Queen Mary special development zone, in which resource consent would be required for any activity, subject to a concept plan being developed by the applicant for the whole site.

Has the Council informed the DHB and Ngai Tahu it is seeking a Heritage Order?

Yes - the Council raised the possibility of a Heritage Order with both the DBH and Ngai Tahu during discussions in August of this year. It has informed both parties today (Friday 15 October 2004) that it is formally seeking a Heritage Order over the 4.8 ha site.

What else has the Council done?

It has commissioned two expert reports: the Lucas Landscape Report and the Opus Heritage Report. These provide evidence of the importance of the site. The Council obtained an external planner's report from Planit & Associates , who summarised the situation and made recommendations to a Council workshop. Copies his report and those of the two experts were provided to the CDHB and Ngai Tahu before that workshop.

What has the DHB done?

Following receipt of those reports, and one day before the Council workshop, the CDHB applied for a Certificate of Compliance. The Council then asked the CDHB to withdraw the application for the Certificate of Compliance. The CDHB declined to do so without certain undertakings from the Council. The Certificate of Compliance is now on hold as the Council has asked for more information, which has not been provided by the CDHB.

What effect would a Certificate of Compliance have?

A Certificate of Compliance, if granted, would take precedence over any subsequent District Plan change. The Certificate of Compliance has a life of five years from the time it is issued. The Council's only tool available that effectively takes precedence over it would be a Heritage Order issued by the Council in its capacity as a Heritage Protection Authority.

What are the financial implications for the Council?

The Council may incur the following types of costs in its capacity as a Heritage Protection Authority:

- Further expert, legal or planning costs of hearing the notification of the Order and possibly defending it in the Environment Court;

- Complying with a condition imposed by the Council as territorial authority on the Council as Heritage Protection Authority for meeting costs incurred by the landowner in complying with the Heritage Order.

- There may be a claim for compensation against the Council for loss of value to the land which the Council will consider at that time.

END

Web: http://www.hurunui.govt.nz/


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