[A statement by Ian Cassels after the Shed 8 fire]
May I please remind those that have been making outrageous claims on social media (and in various media releases by opponents of the development), that our intention from the very beginning was to adaptively reuse the Wharfside Shed 8 and Shipwrights Buildings within the commercial hub of Shelly Bay Taikuru.
As such there has been significant investment in architectural plans, landscape plans, urban design plans, and engineering to enable that. Had it all gone to plan, they would have been a fabulous character destination gems within which you could have enjoyed boutique hospitality and retail offerings. However, when it became clear through engineering reports that the buildings were (simply put) ‘too far gone’, Wellington City Council as the building owner issued a demolition order in late December 2022.
Both the Shed 8 and Shipwrights buildings were then programmed for demolition in August 2023. Significant investigations and subsequent works had already been undertaken ahead of the safe removal of these structures, in parallel with the wharf demolition. This work was prioritised due to the health and safety risks that these structures currently present.
Any notion that we have benefited from the fire is utter nonsense, rather it has resulted in significant issues for all the stakeholders and community involved in the project:
Delays to current programme of works resulting in additional costs.
Loss of any adaptive reuse of heritage materials from the structures and salvaged wharf materials – a shameful waste, for all of Wellington.
Loss of equipment by contractors.
A significant health and safety risk being created on site, including the potential contamination of landholdings that had recently been remediated.
Environmental impacts of both the fire and resulting waste.
Impact of the road closure on the Chocolate Fish Café, who have already been through so much.
And finally, a whole lot of time wasted by people who have much better things to do!
We have been working closely with FENZ, NZ Police and Wellington City Council with urgency to mitigate the impact. Our sincere thanks to everyone involved in that response. We await the outcome of the investigation and ask people to please pause before making insinuations online. They are deeply hurtful.
We are real people, with genuine heart behind the development, wanting to create something incredible for Wellington. We very much look forward to seeing that happen.
With kind regards.