The Dunedin City Council is to press ahead with a tougher
line on dilapidated heritage buildings, but appears reluctant
to name and shame the most ''unco-operative'' owners.
Councillors at yesterday's planning and regulatory committee
meeting voted to proceed with an investigation into the costs
and benefits of a tougher approach, aimed at discouraging
demolition by neglect.
Council staff would consider options including more strict
enforcement of existing Building Act requirements, developing
a new register of at-risk heritage buildings, or even
However, council acting urban design team leader Dr Glen
Hazelton told yesterday's meeting he did not favour naming
and shaming building owners who failed to maintain their
Instead, any register published by the council would likely
list only the buildings at risk, which was where the focus
should be, he believed.
People would still be free to search public records,
including the council's own rates information database, for
information about individual building owners, he said.
''I think it's the most appropriate way ... it is really
about the building and highlighting the issues for that
building,'' Dr Hazelton told councillors.
His comments were in response to a question from Cr Lee
Vandervis, who wondered whether the council should be doing
the ''shaming'', without the ''naming'', to highlight the
state of some buildings.
Dr Hazelton said the register, if pursued, could also be
published on the council's website and updated each year,
with photographs documenting the state of at-risk buildings
from year to year.
The reality was there was no one ''silver bullet answer''.
If there was, another council would already be doing it, he
Instead, the new approach could combine several options, but
exactly how they could work together needed further
investigation, he said.
The council also needed to tread carefully to avoid
alienating heritage building owners who had already been
encouraged to ''do the right thing'' through incentives, he
Committee chairman Cr David Benson-Pope said he was pleased
with progress on what was a ''really important issue'' for
the city's urban appearance.