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The Robert McDougall Art Gallery is one of several heritage buildings for which the Christchurch City Council is seeking new uses

Christchurch City Council moves to future-proof heritage buildings

The hunt is on to find new uses for some of Christchurch’s treasured heritage buildings, with the city council inviting applications from individuals, groups and organisations.


Since the earthquakes, the Christchurch City Council has repaired and strengthened 30 of the heritage buildings it owns. However, there are more than a dozen that still require work. With limited funding available for that work, the Christchurch City Council is inviting applications from individuals, groups and organisations interested in using or helping to fund the restoration of these heritage buildings. This will help the council to prioritise the restoration of these buildings.

“Unfortunately, we don’t have enough money right now to repair all our heritage buildings within the next few years, so we need to prioritise how these funds should be spent,” says the council’s acting head of parks, Brent Smith.

“We are inviting individuals, businesses or community groups that might be keen to use one of our heritage buildings to get in touch so that we can start determining options for their future use and restoration.”

A new use

The Old Municipal Chambers, the former Thomas Edmonds Band Rotunda, and the Robert McDougall Art Gallery are among the 17 buildings for which the council is seeking applications.

The newly restored Sign of the Takahe, the Mona Vale Bath House and the Thomas Edmonds Pavilion, which is under repair, are also included. Little River Coronation Library and Yew Cottage are among four buildings on Banks Peninsula.

“We want to hear from anyone who is interested in helping us to restore these buildings and put them to good use,” Mr Smith says. “People may be interested in running a business or community group from these buildings, or they may be able to help us to restore the buildings.”

Funding and ownership options

As well as engaging with the community, the council is talking to the Crown and other public agencies about funding and ownership options for the central city buildings.

“Keeping in mind these buildings’ heritage significance, we’re open to suggestions from interested parties that will help to see them restored and reused,” says Mr Smith.

The closing date for applications for most of the buildings is 29 March 2018, and expressions of interest for the four central city buildings close on 3 April 2018. Options for the buildings will be presented to elected members in mid-May so they can be considered as they are finalising the 2018–2028 Long Term Plan.

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