Council considers backing for non-heritage buildings

How best to support non-heritage buildings in Invercargill’s city centre will be investigated by the city council.

At a Invercargill City Council meeting earlier this week councillors debated the proposed review of the council’s built heritage fund which aimed to support a broader range of heritage building owners to encourage facade enhancement.

All owners of heritage buildings located within the city centre heritage area would be eligible to apply for funding towards facade enhancement work which included cleaning, repainting, crack repair and veranda work.

Deputy mayor Nobby Clark said it seemed the council was "cherry-picking" the buildings they wanted to invest in based on available funding.

With the CBD development and streetscape project, he believed the council should do more to help owners of non-heritage buildings.

"It seems insane to me we are putting ... probably something like $60million into a city block project and streetscape — maybe more than that — and we are not prepared to put money into upgrade the facades [of buildings] of some of the streets that are joining that."

He said the matter had been discussed before but it was blocked over beliefs the council should not invest ratepayers money into private buildings.

"I think the challenge for us is trying to find out how we can help the owners of the others buildings who aren’t heritage but is still pretty old buildings, so that area in our city can starts to look much sharper than it is at the moment.

"It is the face of our new city that we are trying to create."

Cr Darren Ludlow said he was not a fan of using ratepayers’ money for general maintenance which building owners were supposed to do.

He believed the feeling was valid and said the council had in the past used to recognise building owners who invested into upgrades.

Cr Ludlow believed council could perhaps reignite those awards for the cost "of half-dozen or dozen plaques and a super after a presentation."

It could motivate those who not have the heritage status to take this next step, he said.

Cr Rebbecca Amundsen said the fund was focused on heritage buildings but she and many councillors supported Cr Clark’s feelings.

Cr Alex Crackett suggested staff prepare and investigate the cost and options for some sort of support for building owners in the city centre.


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