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At yesterday’s Waitaki District Council community, culture and regulatory (CCR) committee meeting, councillors approved a heritage consent fee waiving policy, and a new Waitaki Heritage Fund in a bid to support investment in Oamaru’s old buildings to ensure their longevity.
The waiving policy removed resource consent fees, of about $10,000 each year, that the report said generally added burdens to those developing heritage buildings.
The new heritage fund replaced the former Waitaki Heritage Fund, created in 1992, to maintain and preserve historic buildings. The committee approved $50,000 to be added in the first year, and $100,000 per annum after that. The $39,000 in the previous fund would be reallocated to the new one.
Projects valued at less than $15,000 were eligible for 60% of the total cost from the fund, and projects more than $15,000 were eligible for 50%.
The previous fund’s committee involved representatives from Heritage New Zealand and Oamaru Whitestone Civic Trust (OWCT) members, but the new fund would be controlled by a committee of councillors.
Trust chairman Graeme Clark said he was grateful the consent fees had been waived, but was concerned about the lack of heritage representation on the fund committee.
‘‘I’m possibly a little bit disappointed that there isn’t someone outside council involved, with heritage experience,’’ Mr Clark said.
‘‘That would be my concern. As you know, over the years ... as a member of the Historic Places Trust branch committee, and of the Whitestone Civic Trust — we’ve got a lot to offer, to add to the committee [being] on the ground, and out and about.’’
CCR committee chairwoman Melanie Tavendale said she understood Mr Clark’s feelings, as the OWCT’s members’ heritage knowledge was extensive, but keeping the committee in council avoided conflicts of interest.
‘‘I think for the sake of transparency if you’ve got a trust coming to the fund relatively often, it’s really good if we can keep the actual decision-making part of it separate from that side of things,’’ Cr Tavendale said.
Councillors would seek guidance from the council’s heritage adviser, Heather Bauchop, before making any decisions.