Otago Daily Times, 19 August 2017

Central Otago heritage sites will be in jeopardy unless changes are made to the district’s governing heritage trust, its members say.

Central Otago Heritage Trust chairman Graye Shattky is trying to improve the authority and resources of the trust, which connects about 12 heritage groups throughout the district.

An agreement needed to be reached by member groups to give the trust the authority to act more efficiently and effectively, he said.

“I’ve recently moved into Alexandra after living further up the valley and just walking all around the outskirts and outlying areas I keep stumbling over remnants of our history that haven’t been recorded or protected.”

One long-term goal was to create an inventory of the district’s heritage sites, he said.

The trust also wanted to attract and aid some smaller heritage groups.

“It remains for them to agree on a model which protects their independence but enables the trust to do things on their behalf.”

The proposed changes would mean project management, funding applications and management of resources would done from the central body by a professional co-ordinator.

The group’s request for $40,000 to fund the position will be discussed at a future Central Otago District Council meeting. It would eventually be self-funding, Mr Shattky said.

Promote Dunstan secretary Louise Joyce, whose group covers Clyde, Earnscleugh and the Manuherikia, said it was very interested in the governing body better linking member groups.

There were historic buildings in the region which were “crumbling”, she said.

“It means we can stand together as a much stronger group. Promote Dunstan have submitted to protect landscape values in the past, but this would give us more power.”

However, the group did not want to sacrifice its autonomy, she said.

Otago Goldfields Heritage Trust chairman Martin Anderson said that, generally speaking, it was very supportive of the proposed changes.

“We want the heritage structure to be as good as it can be and we are working towards that.”