Whanganui councillors who own heritage buildings have opposing views on the value of a heritage strategy for the town.

Councillors Rob Vinsen and Hadleigh Reid each own heritage buildings in the central city, and gave their views on May 22 as the council decided whether to spend an unplanned $80,000 on developing and implementing a heritage strategy.

Vinsen said money spent on a document is not well spent. He quoted other documents that put the value of Whanganui's heritage buildings into dollar terms, and mentioned the $200,000 town centre regeneration strategy.

He's had lots of approaches from council staff about his own building, and said lots of building owners were going to meetings about heritage and 87 seismic upgrades have already been done.

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"Why do we need somebody to rally us around?"

But Reid, who bought an earthquake-prone heritage building in 2010, said being a building owner could be scary.

Having a person contracted to help owners would be good for a lot of people. He liked what was happening at 1 Victoria Ave, the Thain building.

"How good it is to see that getting attention, as opposed to being pulled down?"

Most of the $80,000 would be used on implementation, and not on writing a document, councillor Helen Craig said. The move could attract co-funding from Heritage New Zealand.

It could also make it possible for more people to live in the upper storeys of central city buildings, reducing the housing crisis and making the town centre more lively, she said.

Of the 37 people who made submissions on Whanganui District Council's 2019-20 Annual Plan, 58 per cent agreed to spending on the strategy.

"There's a lot of good work happening in heritage preservation in Whanganui. It just needs this little shot in the arm to move it forward," councillor Kate Joblin said.

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Vinsen was the only councillor to vote against the spending.