Auckland – where they demolish pubs, shove the church aside and venerate their sewage pipes

Alf’s jaundiced opinion of Auckland is given magnificent reinforcement this morning by news of a bloody sewage pipe being given something akin to heritage status.

The pipe in Hobson Bay has been pumping sewage and water to treatment plants in Auckland for 98 years.

Now, Watercare Services plans to keep part of it as a monument to the structure’s vital role in the city’s history.

The bit that will be kept is described by the the NZ Herald as an eyesore and a blot on the landscape.

That description covers the Blues rugby team, come to think of it.

Aucklanders obviously get their buzz from venerating such structures, including Mayor Banks.

Here’s the pathetic story –

One of Auckland’s oldest eyesores – the concrete sewer pipeline across Hobson Bay – is to join the city’s list of 14,000 historic sites.

Demolition of the 98-year-old main is expected to start in April, after commissioning of its replacement in the city’s network.

Despite years of complaints about the chunky pipe on stilts being a blot on the landscape and a health hazard, Watercare Services plans to save a 20m section of it from the digger’s jaws.

It will become a monument to the structure’s vital role in the city’s history.

Deep and profound thought obviously has gone into the preservation project.

The section of sewer to be retained is on public land, is below the road and is screened from view by big trees.

Grass will come to the top of one side of the pipe, which will be sealed.

The Herald goes on to tell us the pitted and steel strapped top of the pipeline until recent years has served generations of bird watchers, walkers and joggers.

One of those was Auckland City Mayor John Banks. “I have wonderful memories of jogging across the pipeline in the days when it was safe.

“I’m supportive of keeping this piece of architectural heritage in place,” said Mr Banks, speaking from the opening of the Dataline company in the 1908 vintage signal box at 66 The Strand, in Parnell.

Mr Banks was mayor early last decade when engineers said the pipeline had reached the end of its economic life.

This at least affirms that Banks might not walk on water, but he does run on crap.

Alf is reminded that a year or so ago, the kauri frame of St Marys Church

…was wrenched from its historic site, moved across Parnell Road on rollers, twisted by 90 degrees, and deposited beside the brick expanse of Holy Trinity. In many countries, such a scenario would not only have been illegal, it would have been unthinkable. In Auckland it happened easily, and provides a sobering lesson to those of us concerned for the preservation of our architectural heritage.

Mountfort’s 1886 structure had been acknowledged as one of the finest wooden neo-gothic churches in the world. It enjoyed the Historic Places Trust’s ‘A’ category (‘permanent preservation … essential’) and the Auckland City Council’s district scheme classified it as a ‘C1’ building. Under this scheme, even ‘C2’ buildings ‘should not be wilfully removed, damaged, or altered in a major way unless there is a compelling reason’.

Ha. Historic churches, no. Sewage pipes- yes.

But the buggers will knock down anything historic in that neck of the woods, including hotels.

The demolition of an historic hotel in Waitakere prompted the Auckland Regional Council to register its disappointment.

It was

…saddened that Waitakere City Council has today taken the wrecker’s ball to the New Lynn Hotel, one of the city’s prime heritage buildings.

Councillor Sandra Coney, Chair of the Parks and Heritage Committee, describes the demolition as “unseemly, and tragic for the city”. She says it is an example of “demolition by neglect”.

“Waitakere City started responsibly by buying the building and placing a heritage order on it, but it has then been neglected to the degree that it now feels justified in destroying it,” says Councillor Coney.

The ARC was concerned that Waitakere City Council had used emergency provisions of the Resource Management Act (section 330) and Building Act to demolish the building, saying it was a danger to the public, according to Coney.

Alf regards the demolition of any hotel as tragic.

He is indifferent to the fate of old sewage pipes.

But it’s great to have his regard for Aucklanders and their values upheld by their preservation of such a pipe while they give the shove to an old church and demolish old pubs.

One Response to Auckland – where they demolish pubs, shove the church aside and venerate their sewage pipes

  1. Michael in Nelson says:

    …”Watercare Services plans to keep part of it as a monument to the structure’s vital role in the city’s history”

    While I agree that sewer drainage should be maintained at the highest standard, if this bit of sewer pipeline meets today’s high standards for sewerage flow containment (which I doubt) should remain as a heritage icon.

    The truth is that advances in sewerage flow have continued to advance with technology. Any attempt by the preservationist idiots MUST be vigorously opposed lest they keep unhealthy systems in place for some unrealistic philosophy which will (and I repeat WILL) kill hundreds (if not thousands) of innocents. Preservation of an old sewerage system is idiotic. Submitting to this will advance a monumentally stupid philosophy which asserts that because something is more than 50 years old (only possible in a country as young as NZ) it is worth keeping despite how threatening it is to public health.

    Until this country accepts that advances in technology are more important than some emotional adherence to a preservationist ideal will NZ move beyond a colonist mentality.

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