11 Jun 2015

Town hall restoration gets go-ahead

5:42 pm on 11 June 2015

The Christchurch City Council has voted to fully restore the city's earthquake damaged town hall.

Exterior damage to the Christchurch town hall from the earthquakes.

Workers examine exterior damage to the Christchurch Town Hall. Photo: RNZ

In 2013, the council voted to fully restore the building, despite public criticism of the move by the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister.

That decision was put on hold while the council reassessed its financial position, and accounting firm Deloitte put together a business case on the proposal.

The Deloitte report recommended the council go ahead with the full restoration.

The council today voted to restore the heritage building at an estimated cost of $127.5 million. With an insurance pay-out, rate payers will pay $58.6 million of the restoration.

Other options considered included only partially restoring the building and demolishing it.

The only councillor to vote against the proposal, Jamie Gough, said money would be better spent on a new purpose-built arts precinct.

"My fear is with a full restoration, even with the intention of modernising it and making the spaces fit for purpose, that the heritage classification would hinder that going foward, and that would be a disaster."

"Fundamentally, I cannot support putting rate payer money into something I know in my heart of hearts I would not be prepared to put my own money into."

He said although he voted against full restoration, he will back and support the council's decision.

"I am part of a collective, so I will honour that, but I wanted to raise the concerns i had."

Mayor Lianne Dalziel said the decision to restore the town hall made financial sense and was a fundamental decision that showed the council was committed to the city.

"There is something wrong in a city where people think it is okay to bring down buildings that are able to be restored."

She said the council had an obligation to the city to make sustainable decisions.

"Why spend money pulling it down and putting all that concrete in land-fill? It wouldn't make sense."

Resource consent has already been granted for the restoration, which is expected to be finished by June 2018.

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