Strengthening of chambers sought

A strong future is being sought for the former Arrowtown Borough Council chambers building on Buckingham St as an application has been made to allow seismic strengthening.

The strengthening has been the subject of a ''lengthy structural design process'', the application to the Queenstown Lakes District Council for resource consent to undertake the work said.

In the 1870s, during the gold rush, the building was constructed as an Oddfellows hall.

The application to gain resource consent said the work would include removing the existing Pinex ceilings and replacing them with a new Gib board-lined ceiling diaphragm, inserting steel box sections into the existing flue of the two brick chimneys, boxing off the chimney ''above fireplace throat level and infilling the void with concrete''.

The parapet would also be strengthened by reinforced concrete capping.

The building is registered with the Historic Places Trust and is included in the Queenstown Lakes District Council district plan as a protected feature.

It is also registered with the Historic Places Trust as being part of a precinct in the historic area category.

The application said the building ''spans the early days of the gold rush'', before the Arrowtown Borough Council took ownership in 1881.

When the Arrowtown council merged with Queenstown Lakes District Council in 1989 it remained under the council's ownership until it was sold to Gus Watson in 2001.

Both the Historic Places Trust and the Arrowtown Planning Advisory Group support the strengthening work.

In an email supporting the work on behalf of the planning group, David Clarke said ''the fact the owner is using a conservation architect to carry out the process gives us confidence that it will be sympathetic work carried out using best practice''.

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