Rail­ways slated

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

It was ‘‘ a dis­grace’’ that ratepay­ers will have to foot a mas­sive bill for a new shel­ter at Tawa Rail­way Sta­tion af­ter the cur­rent build­ing has suf­fered years of ne­glect, the chair­man of Tawa His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety says.

A meet­ing hosted by the sub­urb’s com­mu­nity board on May 6 to gauge re­ac­tion to plans to de­mol­ish the 75-year-old sta­tion saw gen­eral sup­port given to tear­ing it down. Leaks and struc­tural and pil­ing is­sues have led to its demise, so own­ers Greater Welling­ton Re­gional Coun­cil have pro­posed a $600,000 shel­ter or $1.5 mil­lion restora­tion.

The lat­ter could take up to 18 months, while a shel­ter could be con­structed in about three months.

Com­mu­nity board chair­man Mal­colm Spar­row said they ex­pect a decision from GWRC soon. A straw poll taken at the end of the meet­ing in­di­cated about twothirds of the 80 peo­ple at­tend­ing favoured the cheaper, quicker, op­tion.

‘‘It might take place within a few months, maybe sooner, we just need it re­solved. I thought there might be a groundswell of sup­port to re­store the sta­tion but that hasn’t seemed to hap­pen. Many of the peo­ple I spoke to could not stom­ach a long clo­sure of the sta­tion.’’

Mr Spar­row says if a busi­ness was to set up in the sta­tion, or tick­ets and cof­fee were sold there – much like what has oc­curred at the re­fur­bished Plim­mer­ton Sta­tion – then a case could be made for restora­tion. But this was not on the cards.

The his­tor­i­cal as­so­ci­a­tion’s chair­per­son Bruce Mur­ray was scathing of the en­tire sit­u­a­tion, say­ing ‘‘once this build­ing is gone, it’s gone’’. He was du­bi­ous of the num­bers be­ing put foward.

‘‘I strug­gle to see how it [a shel­ter] on an 80 me­tre square foot­print would cost $ 600,000. In their pre­sen­ta­tion the quotes were based on what was hap­pen­ing at Nae­nae sta­tion. They can’t know for sure it’s go­ing to be the same at Tawa. I think the fig­ures are scar­ing peo­ple.’’

Mr Mur­ray says they know the sta­tion is in trou­ble but it ‘‘in­fu­ri­ates’’ him that it has been left to lan­guish.

‘‘The ne­glect in the past 20 or 30 years is a dis­grace. The rail­ways were sold to pri­vate en­ter­prise and it was left to tax­pay­ers to pick up the tab.

‘‘Look at them now. It says it all when the sig­nalling equip­ment in­side is pro­tected by a can­vas tent. We [THS] are re­al­is­tic and can see it’s in bad shape but it’s out­ra­geous that it’s been milked and scrapped like this.’’

He says the build­ing has his­toric value and used to be con­sid­ered a her­itage site by Welling­ton City Coun­cil.

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