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BGI to be demolished

Media release

18th December 2007

BGI to be demolished

“The decision by the Wellington City Council to issue a building consent today to Foodstuffs to demolish the historic Boys and Girls Institute and associated buildings in Mt Cook for a new supermarket highlights serious problems with the Building Act and the Council’s District Plan”, said new Lambton Ward Councillor Iona Pannett.

“The reason that the buildings can be demolished is that the site is zoned Suburban Centre and the demolition of the buildings is a permitted activity under the Council’s district plan”, said Cr Pannett. “Furthermore, the Building Act does not offer this historic building any protection. Both the District Plan and Building Act need to be reviewed as the decision highlights inadequacies in both.

The consent is to be subject to a requirement to investigate the possible contamination of the site before demolishing the buildings. This is due to the fact that it has long been used for industrial purposes and the presence of an old underground tank on the site. The Council estimates that work will begin January”, said Cr Pannett.

“I am strongly opposed to these buildings being demolished before resource consent is even applied for to develop the site,”said Councillor Pannett. “Given the significant heritage and traffic issues associated with developing the site for a supermarket, it is by no means certain that consent will be granted for the project. Consent is also likely to take up to two years to process and the city may be left with blight on Tasman Street if consent is declined,” said Cr Pannett.

“Mt Cook needs a small suburban centre, with community space, small boutique shops, not a huge supermarket that will encourage more traffic into the area,” said Cr Pannett.

Mt Cook residents will present a petition to the City Council tomorrow night at the final Council meeting for the year opposing the demolition of the BGI and calling for sensitive development on the site.

ENDS

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