I have been very disappointed at the stand The Timaru Herald has taken concerning the Hydro Grand Hotel over the past three years.
1. The majority of Timaru residents have believed that a new hotel would be built where the Hydro Grand stands and they have not understood that it was to be sited on the south-west side facing the main highway.
2. The Timaru Herald has not pointed out that once the hotel is removed the site may remain vacant.
3. It is unlikely that $42 million will be spent on this site.
4. The Hydro Grand Hotel is the best-known building and as the icon for summer holidays drawing thousands to Timaru for the Caroline Bay Carnival. It is famous in New Zealand as a fine example of Edwardian seaside hotel architecture with its references to Empire, the French Riviera and the English seaside. In 1909 the then-Mayor, Mr Craigie, saw that the Caroline Bay Hall and that the Caroline Bay Tearooms were designed and built. On their completion the Hydro Grand Hotel was built. In its time it was regarded as the finest hotel in the South Island. Jocelyn Sleigh Christchurch Editor’s note: Subsequent to the building being declared dangerous and the demolition consent conditions being amended, it was reported on October 21 that developer Allan Booth said it was too early to say whether building work would start straight away, or what may happen on the site if it did not. The detailed planning of the complex would come after the demolition. It was also reported the hearing commissioner was told the main risk to the council was that the site would remain ‘‘vacant for an indefinite period’’. Booth has not resiled from his position the site will be home to a $42 million development. This letter was referred to Booth, who said: ‘‘The heritage impact assessment considered by the commissioner considering the consent application said the building had no redeeming features compared to other such buildings of the era. It is a pity the previous owners, mainly the people who occupied it back in the mid-century, didn’t put some of the money they took out back into the upkeep and updating of the property. In my opinion, these are the people who are truly responsible for the demise of the Hydro Grand.’’ respecting the core values of the RSA. I am pleased to say we have strong service representation on the newly elected executive and I am confident we will afford these special events the respect and recognition they deserve.