News | 15 December 2021

New heritage fund to focus on resilient future

Council has approved officer’s recommendation to disestablish the Built Heritage Incentive Fund (BHIF) and establish in its place the Heritage Resilience and Regeneration Fund (HRRF).

Heritage buildings in Cuba Street.

Key areas the new funding model is changing include a targeted focus towards earthquake prone heritage buildings, especially those approaching strengthening deadlines, attention to areas of urban regeneration and Council investment, and a case management approach by a heritage advisor.

Owners of Wellington’s earthquake prone heritage buildings (EPHB) will face considerable financial and technical difficulties in meeting statutory strengthening deadlines over the next six years – of the currently 137 earthquake prone heritage buildings, 104 require strengthening by the end of 2027.

Council’s support, through targeted financial and other mechanisms, can assist these owners and accelerate strengthening of Wellington’s earthquake prone buildings.

Wellington City is considered a high-risk seismic area with a number of active fault lines, and heritage building owners need wide-spread support to get them off the earthquake prone list, says Grants Subcommittee Chair, Councillor Fleur Fitzsimons.

“Modelling shows there is a high likelihood of a significant earthquake hitting the capital within the next 50 years, and we want to make sure our city is as resilient as it can be before that happens.

“Heritage buildings are a priority as they’re vulnerable to seismic activity, and are so valuable in shaping the character of Pōneke – which benefits locals, visitors, businesses, tourism and the economy.”

Better targeting of Council’s heritage funding to strengthen, restore and sustainably use heritage buildings also provides an opportunity to align these investments with, and provide additional benefits from, Council’s other investments in infrastructure and urban regeneration.

The last round of the fully contestable Built Heritage Incentive Fund will open for applications on Tuesday 1 February and close on Thursday 24 March 2022.