Heritage protection in Dunedin urged

Southern Heritage Trust founding trustee Ann Barsby (left) and chairwoman Jo Galer after speaking...
Southern Heritage Trust founding trustee Ann Barsby (left) and chairwoman Jo Galer after speaking in favour of protecting Dunedin’s built heritage at a council hearing yesterday morning. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Property developers should be encouraged to repurpose older buildings rather than demolish them.

That was the message from representatives of the Southern Heritage Trust to a Dunedin City Council panel considering zoning changes in parts of the city to allow denser housing.

A hearing started yesterday to hear submissions on the proposed rezoning, which were part of the variation 2 changes to the second generation district plan.

Southern Heritage Trust chairwoman Jo Galer spoke to the organisation’s submission and said it was not specifically opposed to the concept of intensification of housing.

Denser housing needed to be accompanied by rules to protect the heritage character of suburbs with significant amounts of built heritage.

The trust’s members appreciated a rule being considered by the panel to require resource consent for the demolition of buildings built earlier than 1940, but said they should first encourage reuse of older buildings instead of demolition.

‘‘Given that there is a housing crisis in New Zealand right now, more has to be built.

‘‘We believe there are more inventive ways that can form that task and that includes heritage reuse and reusing old buildings and having council policies that actively encourage that.’’

Also speaking to her submission was Prof Yolanda van Heezik, of the University of Otago’s zoology department, who said the loss of vegetation brought about by housing intensification would have a negative impact on Dunedin’s biodiversity, and might affect the capability of the Town Belt to provide a link to wild spaces outside the city.

Fantails were one species she said would likely have a declining population in the city after a loss of vegetation.

Suggested rules mandating the planting of a tree for every 250sq m of land in a lot should be expanded to also include shrubs and other vegetation to provide better habitat protection for birds and the

invertebrates they feed upon, Prof van Heezik said.

The hearing continues today.




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