Build­ing 5 fight goes on

Central Leader - - News - By Scott Mor­gan

A COURT­ROOM stoush is brew­ing be­tween the Auck­land District Health Board and the Auck­land City Coun­cil over the fate of a cen­tu­ry­old hospi­tal build­ing.

The health board is pre­par­ing an ap­peal to the En­vi­ron­ment Court over a coun­cil move to grant Build­ing 5, lo­cated at the Green­lane Clin­i­cal Cen­tre, cat­e­gory B her­itage pro­tec­tion.

Mayor John Banks can’t un­der­stand why the board is pur­su­ing the is­sue.

“I’m very sur­prised that they would have the spare cash to be able to fund rich and pow­er­ful lawyers on th­ese mat­ters,” he says.

“It’s a great in­sult to all of those hard-work­ing peo­ple on the hospi­tal wait­ing list.

“At the end of the day the cit­i­zens of Auck­land will not ap­pre­ci­ate the ar­ro­gance of th­ese peo­ple in their pur­suit of the wan­ton de­struc­tion of this build­ing.”

The coun­cil’s three in­de­pen­dent com­mis­sion­ers granted the build­ing 51 points, putting it above the 50 point thresh­old to qual­ify for pro­tec­tion, in a de­ci­sion that was rat­i­fied by the coun­cil last month.

Pre­vi­ously Build­ing 5 had been as­sessed at 53 and 49 points be­cause of con­fu­sion about its age.

Mr Banks says he’s re­luc­tant to spend ratepay­ers’ money “de­fend­ing the in­de­fen­si­ble”, but be­lieves the coun­cil doesn’t have a choice.

“We have wrecked with the ball and chain so much of our past, it is time to say: ‘No more’.”

But board chair­man Pat Sned­den says the fu­ture health­care needs of Auck­land should take pri­or­ity.

“We just think the com­mis­sion­ers made the wrong de­ci­sion,” he says.

“Build­ing 5 ac­tu­ally doesn’t meet the re­quire­ments for pro­vi­sion of health­care.”

Mr Sned­den says a lack of room to de­velop at its Grafton site means it needs the flex­i­bil­ity to be able to de­mol­ish Build­ing 5 and ex­pand at Green­lane.

“The new gov­ern­ment has said it wants more ser­vices pro­vided to the pop­u­la­tion with more con­ve­nience and less cost.

“They’re very clear about the in­creas­ing lev­els of serv- ices we’re go­ing to have to utilise.”

He says the board has al­ready shown its com­mit­ment to main­tain­ing her­itage sites through a de­ci­sion to re­fur­bish Build­ing 5’s neigh­bour, the turn-of-the-cen­tury Cost­ley Block.

“We draw the line at Build­ing 5 and still do.”

The health board also has to deal with an ap­peal from her­itage cam­paigner He­len Geary that seeks to over­turn a de­mo­li­tion or­der they have to get rid of the build­ing.

Ms Geary wouldn’t com­ment be­cause the board wants the En­vi­ron­ment Court to merge her ap­peal with its own.

Her­itage con­sul­tant Al­lan Mat­son, who ar­gued for Build­ing 5’s re­ten­tion at the com­mis­sion­ers’ hear­ing, be­lieves the court will agree that it should be re­tained as a her­itage build­ing.

Mr Mat­son says he sees the po­ten­tial for a high-rise hospi­tal ex­ten­sion be­hind a re­fur­bished Cost­ley Block and Build­ing 5.

Mr Sned­den hopes the En­vi­ron­ment Court will hear the ap­peal by the end of the year.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.