An application to demolish the historic Thain's Building at 1 Victoria Ave should be declined, a Whanganui District Council planner says.
The application by The Building Design Company, on behalf of Tony Karantze, for resource consent to demolish the Class B heritage building on the Victoria Ave/Taupo Quay corner will be considered by independent commissioner Rob van Voorthuysen, on behalf of Whanganui District Council, on Thursday, August 9, and Friday, August 10.
The applicant says they cannot afford to upgrade the severely earthquake-prone building and demolition consent would improve the prospect of selling the property to someone who wants to develop the site.
In a report to the hearing, council resource management planner Johanna Verhoek recommends that the demolition application be declined.
"The demolition of the building will result in the irreversible loss of a regionally significant heritage asset, detrimental to the historic heritage values of the district and contrary to objectives and policies set out in the Horizons One Plan, and at Chapter 9 (Cultural Heritage) of the Whanganui District Plan," Verhoek's report says.
"The demolition of the building will cause unacceptable harm to the historic heritage values of the Old Town Conservation Area, contrary to the objectives and policies at Chapter 9 (Cultural Heritage) of the Whanganui District Plan."
The report says that, contrary to the District Plan's policy, the application has not demonstrated that all feasible options and alternatives have been considered and that demolition is the last resort.
It also says the proposal is inconsistent with the purpose and principles of the Resource Management Act 1991 and contrary to the directive to protect historic heritage from inappropriate subdivision, use and development.
The publicly notified application received 33 submissions, nearly all of them opposed to the application.
Submissions will be heard today (Thursday, August 9) from 10.30am and tomorrow (Friday, August 10) from 9am in the Jubilee Room at The Grand Hotel. The hearing is open to the public.