Residents demand action as Antonio Hall threatens community safety

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Feb 19, 2024 |

Antonio Hall fire last Thursday

Fire at Antonio Hall July 2019 / supplied

Residents living near an abandoned Christchurch heritage building are frustrated at the council’s lack of action.

As first reported by Chris Lynch Media, part of Riccarton Road was closed on Thursday due to another fire at Antonio Hill.

Much of the building was destroyed when another fire ripped through the complex in July 2019.

The property, which was built in 1904, has been a regular target by arsonists.

Resident Jan Cermak lives in Carmichael Court, which backs on to Antonio Hall.

“The residents are so tired of fires at this building.

“I cannot believe the council has done nothing about it.

“Last July, Christchurch experienced cyclonic conditions that caused our backyard fence gate to swing open from the high winds. My husband, who had recently suffered an eye stroke, went outside to close it.

“As he was doing so, a tile from Antonio Hall’s roof was dislodged by the wind, ricocheted off our shed, and narrowly missed hitting him. What will it take for the authorities to act before someone is injured or property is damaged?

“There are older people living here in Carmichael Court but the council doesn’t want to know.”

Cermack urged the council to help residents lead a peaceful life “which we can’t do until Antonio hall is gone.”

Christchurch City Council Head of Regulatory Compliance Tracey Weston told Chris Lynch Media they’ve received four formal complaints in the last two years.

“We are also aware of residents complaining to their local Councillor.

“The building is heritage listed and therefore the Regulatory Compliance unit is limited in its response.

“We can require the owner to take all necessary steps to remedy or abate an immediate public or property risk while maintaining the heritage fabrics and fibres.

“The ownership is unchanged, the building is privately owned.”

When asked what measures the council has taken to ensure the safety of nearby residents, Weston said the property was secured behind fencing as a preventative measure to avoid risk to public and property.

“The owner is responsible for ensuring their building is safe and does not present a risk to neighbouring properties.”

Riccarton ward councillor Tyla Harrison-Hurt said “I have previously been in talks with the developer and they have a good vision for the Antonio Hall and Sales yards on Deans Avenue.

 “This is by far, one of the most popular issues of residents in that catchment.

“The development has taken a long time to get right, I do know that the developer has done some underground mapping, services and preliminary works on the site, but know there is no deadline for them to develop nor demolish.

“This is frustrating for residents as it’s been many years.

I’ll keep working with the developer to see how we can support getting things moving, as you know, our powers are quite limited in Council around what can be done.”

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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