Demolition on today's agenda

An Invercargill City Council hearings panel will meet today to consider whether two hospital buildings from the 1930s should be demolished.

The Southern District Health Board (SDHB) has applied to demolish the former administration block and nurses' home on the Southland Hospital Kew Rd site, and part of a kitchen wing built in the 1950s.

It is also seeking permission to take the building material to a clean fill site already established on the hospital grounds.

The SDHB wants to replace the demolished buildings with a new, two-storey building to house hospital administration and clinical education services.

The 1930s buildings both have category 1 New Zealand Historic Places Trust listings, which considers them ''valuable and interesting examples of the era in which they were built''.

The demolition application was received in November last year, but council staff decided the application be fully notified because not enough consultation had taken place.

The NZHPT put in a submission opposing demolition, saying it had hired a consultant and heritage conservation architect last year to examine the buildings.

Their report concluded strengthening both buildings was achievable, enabling them to be adapted and reused.

However, no historical context for the buildings existed because the other buildings nearby were demolished in 2008.

The SDHB said the buildings were an earthquake risk and the cost of upgrading them was $5 million - more than it could afford.

The buildings had been vacant since the Canterbury earthquakes and the board believed they had no practical use.


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