Did Gerry Brownlee ever see a thing of beauty that he didn’t want to destroy?
Ok, that’s a slightly tetchy question, but fresh from his failed plunder and pillage raid on our most precious conservation land, Gerry Brownlee is leading the attack on a second front. On the heritage buildings of Christchurch. With the dust of the earthquake quite literally not settled, Gerry Brownlee wants to bulldoze the rest:
Brownlee takes hard line on damaged heritage buildings
The Minister, Gerry Brownlee, told a media briefing this afternoon that if he had his way, most of Christchurch’s heritage buildings would be bowled tomorrow.
He says the old buildings killed people when they toppled during the earthquake and they can not remain. “While they are part of our past history, they have no place in our future history. As I’ve said repeatedly, heritage is both forward and back and from this point on, we decide what the heritage of this city will be,” he said.
Mr Brownlee said he would like to see resources go into re-building the Christchurch Cathedral, the Catholic Basilica, the Provincial Chambers and the Arts Centre – “but that’s it”. “There will be a few others perhaps, but those would be the most iconic buildings that Christchurch residents would want to see rebuilt.
Brownlee is actually raising a point that is worth debating. Unfortunately he’s raising it with all the tact of a B52. At a time when emotions in Christchurch are running very high, telling the city that its heritage isn’t worth saving strikes an incredibly bum note. Hey Gerry – maybe Christchurch should decide what happens to these buildings. Hey Gerry – any dangerous old buildings in Wellington we should be bowling while we’re at it? If not, why not?
Raised properly, there are issues here that deserve serious debate. What will the new Christchurch look like? What price our heritage? Raised as Brownlee has raised it, I think he has got the debate off to the worst possible start. Thanks a heap. Final word to Tom Scott…
All of my posts for March will finish with this note. While life goes on as usual outside Christchurch, let our thoughts be with those who are coping with the aftermath, with the sorrow of so many who were lost, and with the challenges ahead.