172 quake-damaged buildings must come down

10:01 pm on 1 April 2011

Civil Defence says 172 quake-damaged buildings in central Christchurch need to be fully or partially demolished.

Another 12 need to be made safe before they can be used.

The list includes several notable heritage buildings that will be fully or partially demolished, such as the Press newspaper building in Cathedral Square, St Paul's on Cashel St and the Repertory Theatre on Kilmore St.

Civil Defence says heritage experts have been involved in the decision to demolish historically important buildings and there have been no appeals against decisions to date.

National Controller John Hamilton says the decision wasn't made lightly - "There's a lot of sadness in it, as you would expect" - but it would cost too much to save some of them and restore them to their original condition.

Seven buildings on the list are classified as critical because they're more than five storeys high or threatening neighbouring buildings or important roads.

Civil Defence says about 100 of the demolitions are already under way and the list of buildings will grow.

Mr Hamilton says that when the cathedral tower was demolished, materials were removed and stored for possible use in rebuilding - and the same could be done elsewhere.

Trust acknowledges rigorous process

The Historic Places Trust says 70 heritage buildings facing full or partial demolition are so unsafe that nothing can be done to save them.

The trust's emergency response manager in Christchurch, Nicola Jackson, told Checkpoint a rigorous process has been followed in deciding demolitions.

All the same, she says, there are several buildings that will be missed - particularly the Press building, St Paul's Trinity Church and others such as the Provincial Hotel.

Mayor Bob Parker says the future of structurally sound high-rise buildings is also uncertain, as many employees are frightened of working in them again.