Changing face of Red Lion Corner

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By DAVID HILL

The removal of the parapet from the Leech building, occupied by Reid’s Supercheap Auto Spares, and the demolition of the Parrott building, occupied by Rangiora Eyecare, will forever change the appearance at the intersection of Ivory, High and Ashley streets, Waimakariri Mayor David Ayers says.

“These are two notable buildings in Rangiora and have been part of the view as you come down on to Ashley St for generations.”

The parapet on the Leech Building was removed last week, along with 40 tonnes of concrete, which was removed down to the bond beam.

It will be replaced by a new lightweight cladding.

Mr Ayers says removal of the parapet is the consequence of both the earthquake-prone building legislation and the desire for “safe buildings” in the town centre.

He says the Rangiora Eyecare building was originally Parrott’s grocery store and the oldest part was the original stables.

Deconstruction under way . . . Demolition work is under way on the Rangiora Eyecare site. Photo: David Hill

The building is the latest in a growing list of Landmark-status buildings in the Rangiora and Kaiapoi town centres to have been lost since the earthquakes, Mr Ayers says.

Other Rangiora Landmark buildings lost include the Masonic Lodge and the old Farmers’ department store building, while in Kaiapoi the former courthouse, which later housed the museum, and the former Rialto Theatre, later home to the Riverside Community Church, have been demolished.

The Landmarks initiative was originally established by the Rangiora and Districts Early Records Society, in partnership with Our Town Rangiora (now Rangiora Promotions), to recognise iconic Rangiora town centre buildings. It was extended to include the Kaiapoi town centre, with the Kaiapoi District Historical Society coming on board.

Fifteen Rangiora buildings and five in Kaiapoi have been granted Landmark status.

Mr Ayers says the Landmarks committee, of which he is a member, is exploring ways to preserve the plaques and history of buildings granted Landmark status, but subsequently lost.