Can the old railway station be saved?

Posted on January 10, 2012 by

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Is Christchurch’s old railway station on Moorhouse Avenue to join the list of demolished historic buildings? Repair costs could mean the building is too expensive to fix for its current owners, with Science Alive looking pretty keen to vacate the building regardless. Grand Ltd, which owns the Hoyts side of the building, has previously indicated a preference for a rebuild over repairs to the building. No decision has yet been made, and an engineering report is due next month.

This is a real shame and could be yet another huge loss to our historic building catalogue as the old station is a really amazing building. In my view, it should never have ceased to be the city’s railway station in 1993, and I always thought that, should local passenger rail return, it might fulfil that role once again, in some capacity.

 

The large and imposing old Christchurch railway station building on Moorhouse Ave (swiped from wikipedia)

If the building can survive, even in some form, I think it should be saved. The site is of strategic value for any revived rail system as it is the closest to the CBD a railway station could get without an expensive new link, so perhaps it is time for the CCC to step in and buy the site?  That would bound to be a controversial decision (remember the Dave Henderson property fiasco?) but in this case it would be a much more obviously strategic decision, and therefore possibly more acceptable. Even if it can’t survive in whole or at all I think it would be wise to look at obtaining the site rather than allowing it to be rebuilt upon. Perhaps this is the sort of thing that the business case for commuter rail might throw up, but by the time that document is finalised it might be too late.

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