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Deconstruction of old Lyttelton Police Station to start

Deconstruction of old Lyttelton Police Station to start

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Thursday, 9 January 2014 - 11:58am


Deconstruction of the old Lyttelton Police Station, built in the 1880s, is set to start next week [week beginning 13 January].

Police announced in December 2011 that following significant earthquake damage the historic police station was not able to be repaired and would have to be taken down.

Deconstruction of the station is expected to take six to eight weeks.

An informal function, attended by Police, iwi and local community representatives, was held today to bid "farewell" to the iconic building.

Canterbury Police District Commander Superintendent Gary Knowles says it was sad for police and residents to be saying their goodbyes to the facility.

"This station carries many memories," he says. "It's been an integral part of the town for such a long time and seen so much history passing through its doors.

"We're also conscious that Lyttelton has lost so many of its historic buildings since the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011.

"It has been good to reflect on the history of the station, and to acknowledge the hundreds of dedicated police staff that have served the community from here over the past 130 years."

Superintendent Knowles reiterated the Police commitment to the town and says Police will retain a presence in Lyttelton in the long term.

After the earthquake-damaged building was cordoned off, local staff operated initially from the station garage, and then from temporary offices erected on the site.

Staff will continue to work from the temporary base until a decision is made on a long-term facility, Superintendent Knowles says.

"At this stage we are continuing to look at options, including the possibility of a shared facility with other emergency services - but no decision has been made as yet.

"Our assurance to the community is that we remain fully committed to maintaining a policing presence in Lyttelton."

Contractors will begin deconstruction of the building next week. The structure will be "dismantled" in sections from the top down.

The director of the New Zealand Police Museum, Rowan Carroll, says several items from the building will be salvaged, including archways, etched glass panels and the wooden staircase and balustrades.

"The building had been through a number of alterations over the decades, and many of the original features, such as fireplaces, were no longer intact," she says.

"However we're pleased that we can retrieve some items that give a sense of the station's history. We may even look to re-use some items in future police stations."

The station was built between 1880 and 1882, and opened in 1882, replacing an earlier structure. It is described as being designed in the Victorian Italianate style of the period.

At the time it closed in 2011, it was the oldest working police station in New Zealand.

Police announced in December 2011 that the station was not able to be repaired, having suffered substantial structural damage in the February 2011 earthquake and subsequent aftershocks. Damage included extensive cracking to the main walls.

Police worked with engineers for several months during 2011 to explore options for repairing the station. Consultation with Christchurch City Council and the Historic Places Trust was also undertaken.

Engineering advice at that time was that repairing the station was uneconomic, as the cost of repair to the standard required for a police station would be significantly more than the cost of a new station.

The cell block at the rear of the old station, thought to date from approximately the 1920s, will remain on the site in the meantime until a decision is made on the future use of the site.

ENDS


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