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Community leaders in Central Otago are embracing a government funding scheme for earthquake-prone historic buildings in the region.
Last month, Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Grant Robertson announced changes to the Heritage EQUIP programme which centred around funding incentives for earthquake strengthening of privately-owned heritage buildings.
Available grants included up to 67% of seismic upgrade work costs with a maximum grant of $400,000, up to 50% for professional fees with a maximum grant of $50,000 and up to 67% of both professional advice and upgrade works if multiple earthquake-prone buildings were addressed together.
Central Otago Heritage Trust chairman David Ritchie has owned the Olivers lodge and restaurant complex in Clyde's historic precinct for about nine years.
The lodge was built in 1869 - the nearby restaurant and bar was originally named the Victoria Store, and provided provisions to the goldminers who came to the area.
Mr Ritchie, who confirmed all of the complex buildings had been strengthened to 100% equivalent of the new building standard, said it was ''very positive how the Government was recognising the upkeep development and preservation of heritage buildings in the regions''.
''A lot of buildings from the gold rush era from the 1860s through to the 1900s within Otago really do tell a story of the early European settlers.
''And that's a story we want to make sure is retained. The more buildings that are looked after and strengthened from earthquakes is good for the communities and good for the area.''
Central Otago Heritage Trust co-ordinator Alice Spiers said the trust ''would be happy to help any individuals or organisations with their applications to Heritage EQUIP if required.''
Central Otago District Council regulatory services manager Lee Webster said it was a ''fantastic opportunity'' for applicable owners.
''I would encourage owners of earthquake-prone heritage buildings to make an application now, as this funding stream could make a world of difference to protecting our local heritage buildings.''