28 Sep 2017

A heritage incentive grant of up to $200,000 should help ensure an historic building at the centre of a 19th century scheme to address Christchurch’s sewage and drainage problems is preserved for the future.

The former Pumphouse building in Tuam Street.

The former Pumphouse building in Tuam Street.

Christchurch City Council approved the grant for the former Pumphouse building in Tuam Street at its meeting today.

The former Pumphouse building is considered of high historical and social significance because it is associated with the establishment of the Christchurch Drainage Board in 1875/76 and the development of an engineering solution to address  the problems caused by inadequate drainage and sewage disposal.

“In the mid 1870s the absence of an organised sewerage and rubbish disposal system, coupled with inadequate drainage, had become a city-wide problems and the death rate from water borne diseases was high,’’ explains Council Heritage Team Leader Brendan Smyth.

“Special legislation was passed to set up a Drainage Board and they were given the task of planning and building a drainage and sewerage network for both the city and the suburbs. The Pumphouse was a key part of that network and is one of the few visible above ground components left of that 19th century sewerage system.

“The owners of the building want to repair the earthquake damage to the building and strengthen it to 67 per cent of the New Building Standard but that work is likely to cost about $1.5 million and they have no insurance pay-out to help with those costs,’’ Mr Smyth says.

“While they are looking to finance most of the work themselves they have managed to secure a $200,000 grant from the Heritage EQUIP Fund run by the Ministry of Cultural and Heritage and now the Council has agreed to also contribute in a $200,000 grant.

“The Council’s contribution is conditional on a full conservation covenant being placed on the property title,’’ Mr Smyth says.