Planned date too late for demolition

DERELICT: The graffiti covered and neglected former Sockburn Service Centre.

Make it happen quickly.

That’s the directive from the Halswell-Hornby-Riccarton Community Board, which is pushing for early demolition of the former Sockburn Service Centre and VTNZ testing centre buildings.

Chairman Mike Mora said the board was happy with the report presented by city council staff last week outlining the proposed demolition, but would push for an earlier start than the planned 2022 time frame.

“Get it knocked down and get the site tidied up so it’s a bit easier to look at. It’s an eyesore and I think people have had enough of it,” Mr Mora said.

Board members were happy to focus solely on the removal of the service centre if it sped up the process.

“But if we can get [both buildings] down earlier than 2022, we’d be really pleased.”

In spite of earlier concerns, the decision was good news for the Christchurch Slot Car Club which had been on site for more than 20 years.

Club spokesman Pete Darrell said members were previously unsure whether their clubrooms – on the same site but separate from the service centre – would be demolished as well, or if their power would be cut off.

“We went in [to the community board meeting] afraid that this could be the end of our club,” Mr Darrell said.

He said the club initially wanted to hold demolition until 2022 to allow them time to arrange other power sources or locations.

However, the community board assured the club they would support it staying in, and maintaining power to, the clubrooms right through the demolition.

“That took the steam out of our argument,” Mr Darrell said.

Mr Mora said the slot car club’s month-by-month lease would continue and their rent would be
waived for any period
they lost power during demolition works to keep them there for as long as possible.

He said the club’s presence on site had a secondary benefit as a deterrent to squatters.

Mr Mora said it was now “in the hands” of council staff to work out how to bring funding forward to speed up the demolition.