So: the results are out from the Commissioners: Mark Dunajtschik may not demolish the “Harcourts” building. That’s an interesting result – and opposite to that recommended by the Council’s own planning officers – and Mr Dunajtschik is furious.
We wrote about it here, and also here, and this decision sets out quite clearly that demolition is not going to be granted wholesale for the heritage buildings of Wellington. That’s partly because an original seismic assessment rated the building as having an equivalent of only about 18% of the New Building Standard – and now a new assessment puts it at about 42% of the code – which not only means that a demolition order can be removed, but also that it is not technically a “Earthquake Prone Building” any more. Interesting… That’s quite a difference! Does that mean that someone in evaluation A did not do their job very well? Or does it mean that the science behind the engineering is really that vague? Or does it even mean that if you shop around, you can get the engineering report to say what you want? How dodgy is that?
No comments here so far today, but over on the Stuff website, there has been a fair bit of dialogue from the usual inane commenters. Key amongst them someone called:
Jerry : “Therein lies the very reason Wellington City shall remain looking like a delapidated, run down old town. Harcourts Building a “heritage building’. Yeah, give me a break. And Chicago Style my foot. What an insult to the city of Chicago. Have these councillors ever travelled to the city. The Harcourts Building is nothing but a bloody eyesore of a structure. What sandle wearing group of fossils managed to convince our wayward council it was worthy of keeping. My recommendations to Mr Dunajtschik, abandon this sad city and put your sought after efforts into a city like Auckland. Its go-ahead, growing in population, offering better returns for the massive investment involved and at least has a council with a degree offore-sight. It never ceases to amaze me, that we have someone like Mr Dunajtschik who is prepared to fund construction of buildings of a very high standard, and in demand and gets knocked back, and yet after years and years of ratepayer funded consultation our council go ahead and put up structures such as the like of the Queens Wharf Events Centre! Go figure.”
and here again is Jerry: “Some people really just dont get it. What difference does it make how many other buildings an individual owns or what their financial status is. The point is, this council are deadwood, they have too much influence in what people can and cannot do, especially when they have made so many bad decisions for this city. If there is one thing this city needs, is more people with a vision and who are truly prepared to stump up with the capital to invest in growth for the betterment of everyone. Maybe you would consider contributing some of your personal wealth (whatever it may be) to the strenghtening of such old dungers. Yeah, I think not. And you can bet your boots, the council wont want to kick in anything either.
Chances are, the next big quake in the city will fix the problem. With all these old dungers falling and facades turned to dust, the problem will be solved. Its just a pity that many lives will probably be lost in the process. Thank you WCC.”