Heritage Buildings and Cultural Heritage Places Recovery Programme
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Heritage buildings, places and spaces - streetscapes and parks - are integral to Christchurch’s distinctive urban fabric and design. Heritage places provide employment and venues for cultural activities, recreation and tourism.
The objective is to achieve an appropriate balance between:
- retaining heritage buildings and places as an important part of greater Christchurch’s / Waitaha’s identity
- the need for the wider earthquake recovery to proceed quickly and within available funding.
- greater Christchurch’s economic and cultural recovery is supported by the contribution of heritage buildings and places to a strong sense of local identity, a quality urban environment and the tourism sector
- heritage recovery recognises and celebrates Ngāi Tahu’s heritage
- heritage buildings and places are adapted to new uses, where appropriate, to ensure they have an ongoing function
- heritage materials are retrieved safely to enable their reuse, and a sample of Christchurch’s archaeological heritage is recovered through excavation
- heritage agencies assist owners where a collaborative approach helps to ensure:
- damaged buildings are assessed according to international best practice (so that owners can determine the best options for them)
- owners of restorable heritage buildings can undertake repairs and make their buildings safe in the short term, and can restore or redevelop buildings based on the best available information
- owners of restorable heritage buildings can strengthen their buildings to appropriate standards.
Balancing opportunities and challenges
In summary, heritage recovery presents opportunities to:
- capitalise on the economic, social, cultural, historic and aesthetic benefits of heritage buildings and places
- ensure heritage buildings and places remain as points of recognition and continuity in an altered environment
- recognise the financial investment the public has already made in retaining heritage buildings and places (through the funding public bodies have provided to owners)
- recognise more fully Ngāi Tahu heritage in greater Christchurch
- ensure heritage buildings are strengthened and safe.
At the same time, the recovery process presents very significant challenges that need to be balanced against heritage objectives such as:
- the need for the recovery to proceed quickly and within available funding
- the amount of damage that has occurred and the continuing aftershocks
- securing insurance cover for heritage buildings and the work that is needed to restore and strengthen them.
A broad range of heritage will be considered as part of the programme, such as:
- heritage buildings, including heritage bridges, memorials and other built structures
- archaeological sites
- heritage spaces and landscapes such as Cathedral, Victoria, Latimer and Cranmer Squares
- places of cultural significance to Ngāi Tahu, including wāhi tapu and wāhi taonga areas.
Heritage buildings and places may be in public or private ownership. No conservation or development project proposed by a property owner will be included in the work programme without the consent of the owner (and Ngāi Tahu where Ngāi Tahu heritage is affected).
A wide range of approaches to heritage retention will be encouraged, the particular approach being selected on a case-by-case basis. The work programme will recognise and provide for Ngāi Tahu heritage values and legacy stories, particularly at sites of significance to Ngāi Tahu, in consultation with Ngāi Tahu Papatipu Rūnanga.
The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) New Zealand Charter 2010 provides useful guidance.
The approaches property owners may adopt include:
- stabilising structures and making them safe
- repairing, maintaining, restoring and reconstructing structures
- adapting buildings to new uses (known as adaptive reuse)
- retaining damaged heritage buildings as ruins, subject to public safety objectives being met
- reusing parts of heritage buildings in new structures
- relocating heritage buildings from damaged to more stable land if this enables buildings to be conserved that would not otherwise be saved
- making additions in modern styles where this approach facilitates conservation and does not detract from the cultural heritage value of a heritage building or place.
In addition, owners may wish to consider replicating destroyed heritage fabric where a strong case can be made that this approach will contribute to cultural heritage value.
The Heritage Recovery Programme will recognise and provide for Ngāi Tahu heritage values and legacy stories in consultation with Ngāi Tahu Papatipu Rūnanga.
An over-riding consideration will be ensuring heritage buildings and places are resilient and safe in the event of natural disasters.
Central and local government incentives are available and assistance will be provided where possible. The government is matching donations to the Canterbury Earthquake Heritage Building Fund Trust (up to a maximum of $5 million), and MCH is helping the trust to boost its fundraising efforts.