Build­ing granted a re­prieve

Central Leader - - News - By Scott Mor­gan

THE chances of cen­tury-old Build­ing 5 avoid­ing de­mo­li­tion rose last week af­ter the Auck­land City Coun­cil granted it cat­e­gory B her­itage sta­tus.

While the sta­tus doesn’t fully pro­tect the build­ing from the wrecker’s ball, her­itage cam­paigner He­len Geary says it is a step in the right di­rec­tion.

The Auck­land District Health Board has re­source con­sent to de­mol­ish the build­ing at the Green­lane Clin­i­cal Cen­tre, but that de­ci­sion has been ap­pealed by Ms Geary and is now sub­ject to an En­vi­ron­ment Court hear­ing.

Ms Geary says the board’s de­ci­sion to re­store the neigh- bour­ing Cost­ley Block, which also has cat­e­gory B pro­tec­tion, un­der­mines its po­si­tion on Build­ing 5.

“The ADHB should make the prag­matic de­ci­sion to re­store them both in a her­itage precinct. They are both on the ex­treme north-east­ern cor­ner of the Green­lane site, with lit­tle im­pact on the rest of the site and any fu­ture de­vel­op­ment.”

Ms Geary hopes the coun­cil’s de­ci­sion will help change the board’s mind, with more money set to be spent on le­gal fees if an En­vi­ron­ment Court hear­ing goes ahead.

“It will be a huge waste of tax­pay­ers’ money. I’m pre­pared to take it right to the end.”

Mayor John Banks con- grat­u­lated Ms Geary on her work to save Build­ing 5 at the coun­cil meet­ing.

“Stand­ing apart is not easy, it can be quite lonely and ex­pen­sive. It’s got to run the gaunt­let of the En­vi­ron­ment Court process.”

Mr Banks said his mother spent the last five years of her life at Build­ing 5 as many el­derly women did in the 1960s and 70s and it had spe­cial mean­ing for him.

Auck­land District Health Board gen­eral coun­sel Bruce Northey says he’s not sur­prised by the coun­cil’s de­ci­sion, which the board will dis­cuss at its meet­ing next month.

He says the board will have to de­cide whether to ditch its bid for de­mo­li­tion or go to the En­vi­ron­ment Court to try to fo­cus more on core ser­vices rather than her­itage is­sues.

The bat­tle to save Build­ing 5 be­gan af­ter staff from the Green­lane Clin­i­cal Cen­tre raised con­cerns in 2007.

Con­fu­sion over the build- ing’s her­itage sta­tus has also reigned since 2007, with coun­cil of­fi­cers ini­tially award­ing it 53 points, three above the 50 point cat­e­gory B thresh­old.

In 2008 the coun­cil dropped the num­ber of points to 49 af­ter fur­ther in­for­ma­tion sug­gested it was con­structed in 1917 rather than 1915.

But the three coun­cil com­mis­sion­ers agreed with a fur­ther re­assess­ment in Fe­bru­ary that gave Build­ing 5 51 points af­ter fresh ev­i­dence showed it was built in 1907.

Ms Geary’s ap­peal is on hold un­til the board de­cides how to pro­ceed.

Mr Northey says a date at the En­vi­ron­ment Court could be set near the end of the year.

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

Life­line: Green­lane Clin­i­cal Cen­tre’s Build­ing 5 has been awarded a cat­e­gory B sta­tus.

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