CO’s heritage approach failing
Central Otago’s approach to heritage is not ‘‘fit for purpose’’ and without an operational overhaul the Central Otago Heritage Trust ‘‘has no future’’, the trust chairman says.
The trust was one of 244 submitters to the Central Otago District Council annual plan, and one of several to make a submission in person at a hearing in Alexandra on Wednesday.
Trust chairman Graye Shattky said if the council did not support a funding application of $40,000 for the trust to employ a part-time heritage coordinator to improve heritage outcomes in the region - the trust ‘‘has no future’’.
‘‘It will then fall back on council to take some direct responsibility which I understand is not a desired outcome...Heritage is a very important resource for all of us in Central Otago and it contributes to a great dal of our prosperity and wellbeing.’’
A strategic review, carried out by newly-appointed trust coordinator, Alice Spiers, suggested the region’s heritage values were ‘‘at risk’’ for its lack of a strong, integrated and cohesive structure.
‘‘The Central Otago heritage structure, with some exceptions, is not fit for purpose or capable of meeting the considerable challenges of effectively managing the district’s heritage,’’ she said.
Funders were also concerned by both the number of heritage groups in Central Otago seeking support and the apparent lack of a cohesive and collaborative heritage community with a collective sense of priorities.
Trust member David Ritchie said going forward the region needed a cohesive and coordinated approach to heritage which was not currently happening.
‘‘There are a number of projects out there which do required funding. Through discussions with funders they want an overview of heritage to provide context to make decisions which is not available at the moment.
‘‘We propose the heritage trust, or another body, oversees heritage through the region.
‘‘All the heritage groups still have their independence but they should come via the trust to be identified as to where they fit within the overall heritage environment.’’
The current heritage approach was ‘‘handicapping’’ a lot of groups, he said.