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Funding set aside for restoration of Old Municipal Chambers

Thursday 15 October 2015

Funding set aside for restoration of Old Municipal Chambers

Christchurch City Council will begin investigating options for the preservation of the treasured Old Municipal Chambers building on Worcester Boulevard after $10 million was set aside for restoration work at today's Council meeting.

The Old Municipal Chambers was significantly damaged in the September 2010 and February 2011 earthquakes and its condition is deteriorating.

The decision to set aside funding for the Old Municipal Chambers will ensure investigations can now begin into how the building can be restored.

The current Long Term Plan allocates $40 million for the repair/rebuild of the Canterbury Provincial Chambers Buildings in Durham Street, but no funding was set aside for the Old Municipal Chambers. The $40 million will now be split between the two projects so there is $30 million for the Canterbury Provincial Chambers Buildings and $10 million for the Old Municipal Chambers.

Over the coming months, a business plan that looks at potential uses for the Old Municipal Chambers building will be developed, consultants will be engaged as required and priorities for preservation, repair and reconstruction will be investigated. It is expected a report seeking approval to go ahead with the development of repair and strengthening options for the Old Municipal Chambers will be presented to the Council for consideration in February next year.

Deputy Mayor Vicki Buck says the building is a significant landmark in the Central City and taking steps to preserve it is vital because of the risk of further deterioration. "It's a prominent building in an area of the city where we're seeing a lot of development occur so it's important we show we are progressing with the retention of a significant part of our city's history."

Council Major Facilities Unit Manager Alistair McGuffie says thorough investigations will be carried out into the best options for the building. "We know the building suffered significant damage in the earthquakes, but this will give us an opportunity to find out more about the extent of the damage and how we can best protect this well-loved facility for future generations.

"The decision to re-allocate the $10 million funding will ensure the Old Municipal Chambers doesn't continue to deteriorate further and that the preservation of this building can go ahead at the same time as we continue to look at repair and strengthening options for the Canterbury Provincial Chambers Buildings, another one of the city's special buildings," he says.

The Old Municipal Chambers building is listed as a Group One Heritage item in the Christchurch City Plan. It was also the first permanent, purpose-built building designed for the Municipal Council, which preceded Christchurch City Council.

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