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Full heritage assessment some time off

25 February 2011

Full heritage assessment some time off

Discussions on what steps need to be taken to retain heritage landmarks will become clearer once public safety is assured and emergency services have declared the sites safe, says the New Zealand Historic Places Trust (NZHPT).

NZHPT Chief Executive Bruce Chapman is in Christchurch to support the organisation’s staff and to begin assessment of the damage to Christchurch’s heritage buildings. Once the all-clear had been given to access the central city a more detailed assessment will be able to be made in consultation with the council, structural engineers, owners and government agencies.

“Clearly damage to landmark buildings such as the Provincial Chambers, The Press building, the Arts Centre, the Basilica, and the Anglican church in Cathedral Square are significant. The NZHPT-managed Timeball Station has also suffered serious damage.

“These buildings are much-loved, iconic landmarks that helped to tell Christchurch’s story and have made the city the special place that it is and what locals and visitors readily identify with.

“There is no easy answer to whether Christchurch can rebuild its damaged historic buildings. Once the full extent of damage is known then discussions can begin on how Christchurch can rebuild, what buildings it can retain and the costs involved.

“But that’s a conversation that no one is having right now. Like everyone else our thoughts are firmly on the safety of people in the city, and with the remaining rescue and recovery work.”

Mr Chapman said there were a huge number of buildings needing to be assessed on a case-by-case basis, but the people of Christchurch and the rest of the country were already commenting on the enormous sense of loss felt for the city’s character.

“This seems likely to be a discussion that many people will want to take part in.”

ENDS

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