Devonport Heritage is very concerned about the re-building process currently taking place at the Masonic site on King Edward Parade.
From media photographs it appears the whole of the hotel has been demolished, even the parts that were scheduled for preservation.
We have asked our local Auckland Council representatives to make inquiries into the level of demolition that has been taking place behind the white plastic shroud. Council planners have replied that staff has been monitoring the works and have found them to be 'in general compliance'.
This is their official response:
" At Council¹s last scheduled inspection the works were in general accordance. Some parts of the building that were marked for retention/reconditioning were in worse condition (borer/rot and were crumbling, seen on site) than previously thought and had to be demolished. All extra demolition work has been reviewed and approved by Ian Bowman. This approach is typical for projects of this type (where the exact condition of fabric is not known until works begin), and was provided for by the consent through the approved Conservation Plan and Conservation Methodology."
However we have very little faith in the process and believe this answer is a very convenient excuse for demolition. We have asked for proof in the form of photos about the state of the scheduled parts of the building. To prove that this is not a case of demolition by stealth we also ask that the council require a demolition plan which lays out exactly which original features that are Scheduled A items are to remain and which have been demolished and we would ask to be shown this as Environment Court submitters. We believe this is the only way the community can have any faith in the process. We are also concerned that the site owner has applied to change the resource consent for a cafe in the old hotel's ground floor into office space. We have called for this application to be publicly notified as it is a marked change from the original consent and will effectively rule our any community engagement with the building and deactivate the corner.