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Friday, November 19, 2010

Aurora Hotel

Yesterday afternoon cracks began appearing in the facade and at 10pm last night the Council made the decision to demolished it - without the owners' consent. While their knocking shop was knocked down in just a few hours the legal battle will not be resolved in such short order. I heard about it and today I visited the site and I still can't quite believe it has happened. It's all gone.

I am reminded of three incidents.

Firstly, just down from what is now a pile of Victorian bricks on the same side of the street, is the old facade of the Victoria Street TAB. In the late 80s/early 90s when the building behind it was being constructed the front slumped suddenly and it looked like it would collapse onto the street. It was debated whether to let it fall onto the street or preserve it. It was braced and preserved. Could this not have been done in the instance of the Aurora?

Secondly, the Waitakere City Council eventually bought the old New Lynn Hotel a few years ago - it was a facade shell - in order to preserve it. It was about the only notable historical building along that area of Great North Road (the Avondale stables burnt down earlier this year). But this year the Council concluded it couldn't be saved and they demolished it. There is a new building going up on the site right now. It was a scandal that it was the Council itself that destroyed the Hotel given that the only reason they bought it was to save it as a heritage asset. It was not in an acute state - they just couldn't be arsed making an effort. Easier to run a bulldozer through it. Pathetic - such a waste. A landmark destroyed by its supposed steward.

So when I hear it was the Council that demanded the Aurora be demolished - completely levelled - I am not at all trusting of the local authority's competence in having done that.

The third incident was the first time I was ever a patron of the Aurora in its era as a traditional type public bar. A group of us Auckland University students staggered in during a capping pub crawl in the early 90s. It was dank and dark and it was one of the last on the official list, but not too far down that I can't remember. The surly old crusty regulars were already overwhelmed with drunken, raving, puking teenagers at that point. It had some charm - we had very little - and getting less with each plastic cup of DB Export downed.



At 19/11/10 7:04 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you an engineer? If not, STFU

At 19/11/10 7:30 pm, Blogger Rangi said...

Sad. They just don't get it, do they.

At 19/11/10 7:36 pm, Anonymous Tim2 said...

Anon......there are Engineers, then there are Engineers. Over the years I seen some pretty crap work from so called 'experts' charging like angry bulls for their expertise - sometimes really BASIC stuff (e.g. failing to notice that certain parts of a building being restored was to house a library - a floor tha might JUST need strengthning - $620 per hour plus GST, clip the ticket, tata for now!); deeming a certain building at the top of Tory Street in Wellington a quake risk - it needed bloody explosives to bring it down.
While most do a good job and no doubt have impeccable credentials - HOW THE HELL DID leaky buildings happen?, or BRANZ....
I wish to God I had your Blind Faith!
Imagine if the owners had been able to provide engineering evidence from an equal number of engineers" that the building was salvageable? They weren't given he opportunity though.
Did I here someone with a Jonky loik echsent scream trenzpairinzy in cownabilty?

At 19/11/10 7:57 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...



At 19/11/10 9:16 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrew B and I knew it better at The Palace from our casino days. Damn shame.

At 20/11/10 2:43 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I served you Tim. Was there black polythene lining the walls too?

At 20/11/10 4:00 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrew B and I used to haunt that place in our casino days. Damn shame it is. Memories demolished

At 20/11/10 12:36 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alcohol induced brain damage, the silent epidemic.
Drunken students – too much money not enough brains and not enough work. While these spoilt, layabouts are getting drunk, the sensible, working classes are working night shifts, or sleeping to get ready for an early start at work the next day.

Those of us that have worked hard and long hours for every cent tend to be rather more thoughtful how we spend (and save) that money.

Lazy, stupid and drunk, some students and beneficiaries have so much in common. Many will never make anything of themselves and never contribute anything useful to society.

At 20/11/10 10:04 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

it would be nice if there was a law that specified when they tear down historic buildings they must build something of similar style. i am sick of steel and glass, they need to bring back some glamour and style.

At 20/11/10 10:14 pm, Blogger Tim Selwyn said...

Wasn't a 'second opinion' appropriate in this critical case? Esp. when the owners were for saving it. There is parallels with the one down the road ' they made an effort with that one at least.


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