Today is a special day for the city and for the future of the Otakaro Avon River Corridor. I used to live just around the corner from here when I was an MP and drove down here most days.
So pleased that the history of this place will be preserved and the story that it captures will remain forever embedded in the landscape.
As the local ward councillor at the time Yani Johanson has advocated strongly for the former Christchurch home and studio of Bill Sutton, one of New Zealand’s most celebrated modern artists, to be gifted to the city.
When Sutton died in 2002, Neil Roberts, a former senior curator at the Robert McDougall Art Gallery, bought the house.
Mr Roberts had plans to leave the house to the city so it could be used for an artists-in-residence scheme, but he ended up selling it to the Crown when the property was red-zoned after the earthquakes.
“Today’s announcement is a fantastic outcome and ensures that future generations of artists will be able to visit the studio where Sutton worked and created some of his most well-known art works,’’ and I am sure artists in residence will be able to spend time here, breathing new life into this special place
As Yani has reminded us “It has been a long standing request from Council to Central Government to retain this special place as an iconic residential address in our city. It makes perfect sense to help activate the current and future use of the red zone by extending its life. It’s great to be able to secure the future of such a culturally important property and to know that Bill Sutton’s legacy will live on in Richmond,’’
I also welcome the announcement that temporary projects in Christchurch’s residential red zone will be able to run for longer as the Government has extended the timeframe for transitional projects from two to five years. This will enable innovation and creativity as we use the red zone to trial new technologies that will better prepare us for the future, as well as allowing the community the opportunity to enjoy this space.