Earthquake damaged hospital buildings may be kept

Earthquake-damaged Christchurch Hospital buildings, which were set for demolition even before the earthquakes, may now be repaired and kept running.

In 2009, it was announced the Riverside building at the hospital would be demolished, and the Parkside building refurbished.

Now, Canterbury District Health Board members say the Government-appointed Hospital Redevelopment Partnership Group, which is responsible for the hospital rebuild, is looking at keeping most of the buildings.

HRPG chairman Evan Davies would not answer questions from The Star about the buildings, referring questions to the Ministry of Health.

A Ministry of Health spokeswoman said she could not answer questions about the future of the buildings, because a business case was being done but no decisions had been made.

But board member Aaron Keown said he was told in a board update that the HRPG was looking at rebuilding half of the Riverside building and keeping the other half, and was also looking at repairing, rather than replacing Parkside.

Both buildings were built in the 1980s. Mr Keown said they would be expensive to maintain and less safe than a new building, even with repairs.

“Just because you repair a building and spend a lot of money it doesn’t reset the button on its life, because even most new buildings only have a 50 year life-span,” he said.

Fellow board member Andrew Dickerson said the ongoing costs of the work would fall on the community, yet the decision about the building was out of their hands.

“I continue to believe that the CDHB should lead this, I believe the HRPG model is flawed. Because although we are not leading it, ultimately we are responsible for it, and we will have to deal with the results of it for the next 40 years,” he said.