Heritage funding for prison trust

A group that has to reapply for incorporation as a charitable trust has secured a $20,000 Dunedin City Council grant to appraise a heritage building it does not own.

The Dunedin Prison Charitable Trust has received a grant from the Dunedin Heritage Fund to prepare a conservation plan for the decommissioned Dunedin Prison.

The work would be part of an overall assessment of the cost - and viability - of possible future uses for the empty 114-year-old brick building.

But trust spokesman Stewart Harvey last night said the money would have to stay with the council "until all the boxes we need to have ticked, are ticked".

It had to refile its application for incorporation because it acknowledged it might want to have a commercial operation - a cafe or restaurant - at the prison, Mr Harvey said.

The trust is on the Economic Development Ministry's trusts register, but had been "stood down" as a registered charitable trust pending a "rejigged" application.

It was also waiting for the commercially sensitive, Department of Corrections-led disposal process to get to the point of actually disposing of the building.

"We are in a state of limbo. Nothing, really, has changed since March, but we are doing what we can to be ready for when it does," Mr Harvey said.

Heritage Fund committee chairman Lee Vandervis said he was unaware the trust was not incorporated when it applied for the grant.

The committee supported the trust's aims - but the grant would not be allocated until "all the i's are dotted and the t's are crossed".

In other grants from the council and New Zealand Historic Places Trust-administered fund, Corstorphine House received $20,000 to restore, from autumn next year, a historic conservatory that owner Paul Facoory said "needs some work".

The Gasworks Museum Trust received $29,327.52 to restore its forge; a $10,000 grant and an $8050 loan were allocated to help restore dry stone walls on Peter Wheen's Highcliff Rd farm; $11,400 was granted to prepare a conservation plan for Cargill's Castle, and $5000 was allocated to reinstate historic chimneys removed from a double-bay villa in George St.

- stu.oldham@odt.co.nz


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