Heritage EQUIP a positive step in retention
Heritage New Zealand says the Government’s new financial support scheme assisting private owners of significant earthquake prone buildings is a positive and important step in ensuring public safety, helping retain special heritage places and boosting regional economies.
Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Hon Maggie Barry, announced the $12 million contestable, discretionary fund scheme Heritage EQUIP (Heritage Earthquake Upgrade Incentive Programme) in Feilding today.
The scheme will assist owners required to meet the set timeframes to strengthen their buildings under the Building (Earthquake-prone Buildings) Amendment Act 2016. It is available to owners of all privately-owned Category 1 historic places, and those listed as Category 2 (in medium and high risk areas only) on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero which is overseen by Heritage New Zealand.
The Ministry for Culture and Heritage will administer the Heritage EQUIP fund.
"Heritage EQUIP recognises that heritage buildings do have a high public value," says Heritage New Zealand’s Acting Chief Executive Nicola Jackson.
"This scheme acknowledges the financial efforts made by committed owners to not only make safe their buildings, but ensure they are attractive, tenanted and economically viable for many years to come. Heritage buildings are tourism attractions in their own right, so the whole community will benefit from this incentive.
"Heritage EQUIP provides an opportunity for property owners in smaller centres to help revitalise and reuse their buildings. Often these buildings are on the main street or in the main retail centre precinct, so this financial assistance will provide an incentive to retain places that enhance the character that is so often a unique selling point for these communities, and help create a more vibrant place to live."
The New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies significant and valued historical and cultural heritage places. Currently there are just under 1000 buildings considered eligible for Heritage EQUIP funding.
"Strengthened and refurbished heritage buildings continue to be sought after by businesses and individuals," says Ms Jackson.
"Dunedin’s warehouse precinct and Wellington’s central business district are just two examples where private owners have achieved fantastic results. Heritage EQUIP provides the opportunity for more successes to follow."