Committee approves urgent works for Chinese settlement

Friday 27 July, 2018

Ashburton District Council’s Finance and Business Support Committee yesterday agreed to urgent work being completed on the Chinese Settlement site in Allens Rd to preserve the land and its buildings. Further funding will be sought at a later date to complete the restoration of the site.

Councillor Leen Braam, who chairs the Council’s Chinese Settlement Working Group, said that work was progressing well on the site.  In the last year, about $85,000 has been spent on an engineer’s report; the demolition of unsafe buildings; tidying up the area; and an asbestos identification and removal programme. A heritage assessment has also been produced, providing a record of the site, its buildings, and the people who used it.

The remaining $45,000 of funding allocated to the project will be spent on draining water from the site; the last of the demolition work; fencing the area; and stabilising and weatherproofing buildings. 

Cr Braam said, “The primary goal for the site is to retain what is there now.  Funding has been spent very wisely so far and a recent tender process for full restoration of the site gave us much more clarity about what we could achieve in the future and the money we would need for that.”

The next phases of the project are likely to include restoration of existing buildings, deconstruction and reconstruction of the settlement’s shop; landscaping; and a memorial to the people that lived and worked at the settlement.

The Council took stewardship of the 2.4ha parcel of land in 2013, following an agreement with descendants of the original landowners.  In the agreement, the Council committed to administer the land as if it was a reserve; restore the properties and preserve their heritage value; and erect a memorial on site.

Five options for completing the restoration project were put to the Council’s Finance and Business Support Committee yesterday, ranging from doing nothing to purchasing an adjacent property and proceeding with a revised programme of work for the settlement site. The fourth option of undertaking urgent works on the site and obtaining further funding for the remaining restoration work was voted to be the best approach.​​

Page reviewed: 27 Jul 2018 10:25am