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Much-maligned refurb begins on bus barn

Feb 18th, 2010 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

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AFTER years of controversy and planning, refurbishment of Eastbourne’s Korohiwa bus barn is set to begin, with Sparrow Construction ready to start the project.

Sparrow presented a tender meeting all the Hutt City Council’s criteria in terms of building methods, time to complete the project, and value for money. 

The $1.35 million contract is significantly under the council’s $2.2 million budget, which was put aside in the 2009/19 Long Term Council Community Plan.

Councillor Max Shierlaw

Councillor Max Shierlaw

Disagreement has surrounded the project. Hutt city councillor Max Shierlaw has been against the refurbishment from the beginning, along with what he says is “two thirds of the community”.

To save the bus barn from demolition, a group of Eastbourne residents formed the Eastbourne Rights group in 2006 and got a category two historical places classification for the bus barn.

They also threatened to apply to the Local Government Commission for Eastbourne and Petone to become part of the Wellington City Council rather than stay in the Hutt.

Councillor Shierlaw says the historical places classification was a waste of time and money. “They used it as a tool to try to stop the council from demolishing it,” he says.

Although it will not make a difference to the refurbishment, councillor Shierlaw has applied to the Historic Places Trust to get the classification lifted.

“By the time they’re finished with it, it will have no historic significance at all. It will be a modern building,” he says.

Despite the controversy, with the tender awarded, the building and resource consents granted, and bus company Cityline confirmed as the lease-holder, Hutt City Mayor David Ogden says he’s delighted construction can begin shortly.

“This iconic Eastbourne landmark will enjoy a whole new lease of life and revitalise Korohiwa when work is completed,” he says.

The refurbishment will include reinstating the apartments on the first floor, and restoring the bus barn to its original condition.

Architects are working with conservation architect Ian Bowman and the Historic Places Trust charged with ensuring the building’s heritage value is preserved.

Other council projects such as the Walter Nash Stadium upgrade and the MacKenzie Pool upgrade have been pushed back to allow for the bus barn refurbishment to go ahead.

One of these is upgrading the Eastern Bays walkway in Eastbourne, which has had a lot of support from the community and councillors.

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is a Whitireia Journalism student with a keen interest in the arts, fashion, photography, and travel. She hopes to turn her passions into a sucessful writing career. She also writes a blog about fashion vs. the economy called Riches to Rags (http://richrags.wordpress.com/).
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