9/29/2016 0 Comments
This century-old commercial building in lower Majoribanks St started coming down yesterday. It was owned by various Chinese families and was a laundry until the early 80s, when it was sold.
I tried to get permission to take photos inside, but to no avail. I think developers and demolition contractors are pretty wary about photographers, in case we're trying to save the building or something. Just wanted to record some history. Never mind.
I walk past the old place 12 times a week and shall miss it.
One day a month or so ago, I noticed the building suddenly abandoned. The front door was open, so I wandered upstairs, expecting to find someone there. There was no one. I took a few photos on my cellphone and left, locking the door behind me. Here they are.
And here's a bit of historical info, kindly sent via a recent tenant of the building.
It's a shame that all the beautiful old timber in the building, the floorboards and stair treds in particular, couldn't be recovered; but demolition methods these days don't seem to allow for that process to take place. People who're interested in doing that can't seem to get a look in due to regulations, insurance requirements to operate and suchlike. The big digger just smashes the building down, loads it into a dump truck and that's the end of its story.
Anyway, I'm about to pass the building, on my way home, so will see how demolition has progressed. Might add another pic or two.
While I support the aspirational policy to make New Zealand predator free by 2050, I also quite admire the various little predators we're trying to banish. The other week our cat Leo cornered a rat in our kitchen. It proved to be such a feisty and personable little creature that I couldn't bring myself to bash its brains in with the fire shovel, as I should have. I caught it and released it outside instead. This was probably a bit soft, since we currently have tui and other birds nesting in or near our garden. It's probably planning to raid their nests as I write, if it hasn't already done so. But I couldn't help admiring the little chap.
So, springboarding from that experience, I plan to establish the New Zealand Predator Protection League. The idea is to protect an area of land with a rodent-proof fence, to keep the rodents, mustelids and feral cats within rather than without. Post 2050, visitors to this reserve will be able to get a sense of how their land was before the rodents were eradicated.
Initially I'll be starting small, seeking funding to erect said fence around our 800 square-metre suburban property. This will allow existing predators, such as the rats that seem to be established in our bush and garden compost bin, to live their lives unthreatened by traps and free of busybodies. They will, of course, be expected to watch out for each other, as we yet have no way of preventing inter-species predation among the predators.
Prior to the establishment of the NZPPL Charitable Trust, I would like to attract some seed funding to get this worthy project under way. If you're interested please contact me and I'll give you my private bank account number in expectation of your generous donation. A significant proportion of this seed fund will be aimed toward securing a large Lotto win, with the hope that developments can begin sooner rather than later. The remainder will be used for 'operational expenses'.
Once we have a board of trustees and the trust fund reaches a certain level, the aim is to acquire a significant block of undeveloped land, fence it and create a Predator Reserve. This should prove a popular tourist attraction as well as provide an educational and research facility, admission to which will be an income stream. One idea is to look at purchasing the Gilberd Bush Reserve - an otherwise-useless, bushy gully in Newlands, kindly gifted to the city by my father's uncle Ted. Failing that, a block of private or public land in the triangle of Ngauranga-Raroa-northern Khandallah would suffice, as there is already a healthy population of stoats, rats and God knows what else roaming around in there.
Index site for Photospace, 1st floor, 37 Courtenay Place, Wellington New Zealand, James Gilberd Photography Ltd. Contact: James Gilberd (04)382 9502, 027 444 3899