His­toric sta­tion’s fu­ture in doubt

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By MARY BAINES

Tawa peo­ple are likely to fight a plan to de­mol­ish their his­toric rail­way sta­tion.

A Tawa com­mu­nity board meet­ing on April 12 was told by the Welling­ton Re­gional Coun­cil that the 1937 build­ing was likely to be re­placed with a mod­ern rail­way shel­ter.

Ex­ten­sive water dam­age and years of ne­glect have caused ma­jor struc­tural dam­age.

Re­plac­ing the sta­tion would cost about $600,000 and take up to three months, whereas restora­tion of the old build­ing would cost at least $1.5 mil­lion and take 18 months.

Tawa com­muters sur­veyed last week showed most sup­ported restora­tion.

Mag­gie Love pointed out the im­por­tance of the his­toric build­ing in the Tawa com­mu­nity.

‘‘There’s not many [his­toric] build­ings left in Tawa – it’s sad. Ei­ther way it’s go­ing to cost the tax­payer,’’ Ms Love said.

But re­tired Tawa woman Doris Kebbell said the build­ing was past the point of be­ing able to be re­stored. ‘‘We might as well do it if it needs re­plac­ing as it has to last for years,’’ Ms Kebbell said.

Tawa His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety chair­man Bruce Mur­ray said the rail­way sta­tion re­called a by­gone era when rail was king and com­mu­ni­ties fought to have ac­cess to it.

‘‘If such sta­tion build­ings dis­ap­pear, our re­gion loses some­thing that will never be re­placed,’’ Mr Mur­ray said.

‘‘ We have noted the ex­tremely pos­i­tive re­sponse fol­low­ing the ren­o­va­tion and preser­va­tion of the Plim­mer­ton Rail­way Sta­tion and would like to see a sim­i­lar so­lu­tion se­ri­ously can­vassed in Tawa.’’

Welling­ton city coun­cil­lor and Tawa res­i­dent Ngaire Best said she would love the build­ing to re­main.

‘‘I would be keen to get feed­back from lo­cal com­mu­nity as to what their thoughts are, whether 18 months is too long to even al­low us to con­sider re­build­ing the ex­ist­ing build­ing or if we are go­ing to have to look at a more prag­matic ap­proach.’’ Ms Best said.

Tawa’s last mayor, from 1987 to 1989, and New Zealand His­toric Places Trust cen­tral re­gion area co­or­di­na­tor, David Watt, said that although the build­ing was not reg­is­tered in the New Zealand His­toric Places Trust na­tional reg­is­ter or listed on the Welling­ton City Coun­cil dis­trict plan, it was of some his­tor­i­cal im­por­tance.

‘‘I would hope the Tawa Com­mu­nity Board will respond strongly ad­vo­cat­ing the re­ten­tion of the build­ing as have other lo­cal au­thor­i­ties in the Welling­ton re­gion,’’ Mr Watt said.

Welling­ton re­gional coun­cil­lor Peter Glen­sor said the build­ing was in very bad re­pair and might be be­yond the point of no re­turn.

He said that if public opin­ion was strongly in favour of keep­ing the build­ing and the com­mu­nity was will­ing to raise some of the funds, the coun­cil might con­cede but be­cause of the costs, en­gi­neer­ing risks and time in­volved, it was un­likely.

At this stage the engineers had not spent the $50,000 that would be re­quired to do a thor­ough check of the build­ing.

‘‘We are very wor­ried about lift­ing it up to re­view the piles and foun­da­tions as there is a real fear the build­ing would dis- in­te­grate. We re­gard it as an ex­tremely bad op­tion. When the public are talk­ing about it, it is im­por­tant they are aware of that,’’ Mr Glen­sor said.

The com­mu­nity board has called a public meet­ing at 4.30pm, on Sun­day, May 6, at the Tawa Com­mu­nity Cen­tre to dis­cuss the plan.

The board is also open to sub­mis­sions, which can be sent to com­mu­nity chair­man Mal­colm Spar­row at mal­colm@ tawalink. com or by phone to Ngaire Best, phone 232 9000.

Tricky ques­tion: The his­toric Tawa Rail­way Sta­tion may be torn down and re­placed with a mod­ern equiv­a­lent.

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