Ea­ger wait on hospi­tal grounds

Kapi-Mana News - - OPINION -

News last week that one of the old Porirua Hospi­tal ward blocks would soon be cleared was a timely re­minder the cen­tral busi­ness dis­trict is not the only area in Porirua beg­ging for ma­jor re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion.

Folks have been call­ing for bull­doz­ers at the hospi­tal grounds for decades and upon learn­ing the old Mon­trose Block was to be cleared, were likely hope­ful it hinted at fur­ther rede­vel­op­ment. Alas, we can’t get too ahead of our­selves. Ne­go­ti­a­tions on a Treaty set­tle­ment be­tween the Crown and Ngati Toa are still on­go­ing, with the 42.27-hectare lot be­ing held in an Of­fice of Treaty Set­tle­ments (OTS) land­bank.

OTS called for ten­ders for the Mon­trose Block’s re­moval and sale be­cause the 69-year-old build­ing had been deemed ob­so­lete and could not be ten­anted. OTS di­rec­tor Peter Galvin said its re­moval would help clean up part of the site, re­move a li­a­bil­ity and re­duce costs for the Crown.

Ngati Toa was con­sulted on the pro­posed works but is, un­der­stand­ably, keep­ing mum on any fu­ture plans for the land un­til the set­tle­ment is con­cluded.

When that time comes, the de­vel­op­ment pos­si­bil­i­ties will hope­fully be bold and ex­cit­ing. Rarely does such a large, cen­tral lot of land be­come avail­able – with the op­por­tu­nity to work from a blank can­vas.

Some may be hes­i­tant to de­mol­ish what’s left of a sig­nif­i­cant – and che­quered – part of Porirua’s his­tory, but we doubt many of the old build­ings would be worth re­tain­ing be­yond the old F ward, home to the mu­seum and chapel.

The years spent in limbo, at­tract­ing lit­tle in­vest­ment, have not been kind to the old hospi­tal grounds.

It is cer­tainly dif­fi­cult to rec­on­cile the gothic gran­deur of the Porirua Lu­natic Asy­lum and wellkept grounds seen in old pho­to­graphs with the di­lap­i­dated rem­nants cur­rently wast­ing away.

No mat­ter how many times we visit or­gan­i­sa­tions based there, it never ceases to as­tound us how grim the area is.

Worn- out roads, run­down vil­las and dark cor­ners; God help any out-of-towner who takes a wrong turn into the rab­bit war­ren. They would prob­a­bly think they had driven into a scene out of De­liv­er­ance.

It was no sur­prise one com­ment be­low the on­line ar­ti­cle on Mon­trose Block’s clear­ing sug­gested turn­ing the old hospi­tal grounds into an ‘‘Amaz­ing Maze/haunted house’’ style at­trac­tion. We’d wa­ger it al­ready is.

Matthew Dal­las, Ed­i­tor.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.