Wakatipu heritage buildings off sell list

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Historic buildings worth $5 million will remain in Queenstown council ownership.

The five properties – including the iconic Arrowtown miners’ cottages – featured in a list that were potentially surplus to requirements earlier this year.

But council boss Adam Feeley told councillors this week no further action would be taken regarding sales.

Feeley’s report noted two of the buildings – Williams Cottage on Queenstown Bay, now Vesta Design Store and Cafe, and Malaghan Library on Stanley Street – can in fact never be sold without trustee approval due to deed restrictions.

Queenstown & District Historical Society president Marion Borrell welcomes the decision.

“It’s excellent news,” Borrell says. “It’s regrettable this was not decided beforehand.

“It is a pity this had to be gone through, taking the time of councillors, staff and members of the public who were upset about it,” she says.

Borrell spoke at last month’s council meeting in defence of retaining public ownership of Malaghan Library – an historic stone building owned by the council since 1877.

“I think before I even appeared they’d realised there had been an error, a glitch in the process,” Borrell says.
“We’re very happy with the outcome and relieved.”

A report will be compiled over the next six months outlining options for the council to ensure continuing protection for the historic Arrowtown cottages.

Future options for 6 Merioneth St, which borders the cottage precinct and could be redeveloped to complement them, will also be detailed.

The 130-year-old miners’ cottages were bought for $1.9m in 2007 from late billionaire landlord Eamon Cleary after a Mountain Scene campaign. The cottages had fallen into disrepair over the years but were restored through a $700,000 three-year project by the Arrowtown Trust.

Council has opted to retain the cottages, rather than consult the public on their potential sale, after conversations with stakeholders during a review of its $23m property portfolio.