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Grants worth $450k help heritage building preservation

Today’s meeting of the City Strategy Committee approved a recommended grant of $168,500 from the Built Heritage Incentive Fund for strengthening work on St John’s in the City.

Photo of St John’s in the City by Luke Jackson

Twelve smaller BHIF grants to properties were approved during the Grants Subcommittee meeting on 19 September, but the grant amount of $168,500 towards St John’s meant that funding had to be approved by the City Strategy Committee – with the request passed at today’s meeting.

The BHIF grants totalling $450,000 continue the Council’s commitment to heritage, tourism, the community, and safety.

Built of kauri in 1885, St John’s is a one of the few large heritage inner-city timber buildings remaining in Wellington. Seating up to 800 people, it has been used for many large events, including the funerals of Prime Ministers Peter Fraser and Sir John Marshall.

Mayor Justin Lester says the preserving and securing of heritage buildings like the church is an important part of maintaining the unique character of the city.

“St John’s in the City, a Category 1 historic building built in 1886, encompasses this completely.”

He said the strengthening work on the church assisted by the fund “will preserve the historic features and look of the building, as well as enabling more frequent use and protecting both the lives of those using it and the building itself.”

The BHIF is a key initiative of the Wellington Heritage Policy 2010, and during the 2012/22 Long Term Plan deliberations it was agreed to focus on remedying earthquake prone features or preparing conservation plans and initial engineer reports.

Reverend Allister Lane of St John’s says the grant will significantly add to the contribution the church has already committed to the project.

“The support of Wellington City Council, through the Built Heritage Incentive Fund, is a huge encouragement for the audacious strengthening project at St John’s in the City Presbyterian Church. We are thrilled to receive this boost to our massive fundraising goal of $4.2 million.

The construction work that starts this month focuses on securing the church building to new foundations, and attaching the bell tower to the main building to prevent it banging against the main building in a big quake.

Grants Subcommittee Chair Sarah Free says there was a wide range of applications for the Built Heritage Incentive Fund this round.

“All these buildings are on the District Plan Heritage List and meet the criteria to be eligible for the BHIF. The projects range from seismic upgrades, restorations and refurbishments, and conservation plans – all of which contribute to the heritage values of the capital.”

The heritage buildings to receive BHIF allocations totalling $450,000 for this final round of the year are:

  • 5C St Mary Street, Thorndon, Heritage Cottage Refurbishment, $3,000
  • Augusta Apartments, 254-266 Willis Street, Augusta Apartments Restoration of Children’s Dental Clinic, $31,000
  • Sacred Heart Cathedral, 40 Hill Street, Thorndon, Earthquake Strengthening, $25,000
  • Farmers Building, Barker and Pollock, 94-102 Cuba Street, Seismic strengthening and restoration of facades, $49,000
  • 52 Tarikaka Street, Ngaio, Repairs to a Tarikaka Street railway cottage including borer treatment, replacement of damaged weatherboards and painting, $3,000
  • 97 The Terrace, Seismic upgrade and restoration, $50,000
  • Stonehams Building, 280 Lambton Quay, Stonehams facade remediation, $18,000
  • Philosophy House, 33 Aro Street, Te Aro, Earthquake Strengthening Stage Two, $20,000
  • Bond Store, 8 & 10 Egmont Street, Bond Store Seismic Upgrade design, $20,000
  • The Moorings, 31 Glenbervie Terrace, Thorndon, Architectural Services for the Maintenance and Repair of The Moorings, $12,500
  • Tea Store, Tea Store Seismic Upgrade design, $20,000
  • Somerled House, 192 The Terrace, Seismic work and chimney repairs and conservation plan, $30,000
  • St John’s in the City, 170 Willis St, Earthquake strengthening of church building, $168,500