by Chris Tobin
A Waimate property company will demolish the building where a Nepalese couple and their son died in a fire three years ago as plans continue to update Waimate’s main street.
Tej, Tika and Prem (8) Kafle died in a fire at their home in Queen St above the family’s Everest restaurant.
Three sisters – Mamata (11), Manisha (17) and Tulsa (24) – were plucked to safety from the back verandah of the building.
Building owners Waimate Property Holdings Ltd wrote to the council advising, as required under the council’s district plan, that it it intended to demolish 57-63 Queen St, known as the Savoy building which housed the Everest restaurant, 73 Queen St, the Country Kitchen building, and 68 Queen St, the Walker McGeorge building.
The council did not have the power to prevent the demolition but could negotiate with the owner to explore possibilities of preserving the three category C buildings.
Council communications officer Alena Lynch said the council received and acknowledged the company’s intention to demolish the buildings, at its meeting on Tuesday morning.
The only requirement made was that photographs of the interior and exterior of each building be submitted to council before demolition, along with any other relevant information held by the owner.
Les Buckingham, of Waimate Property Holdings, said a progressive demolition was planned and the buildings would be replaced “in a style sympathetic to the character of the main street”.
“The company undertakes to ensure that the demolition of each of the stated buildings will only occur in a planned manner.
“Redevelopment of each site will begin within no more than six months from the completion of the demolition.”
Mr Buckingham said the company considered its demolition and current development of the former Dawson’s Emporium at 84 Queen St had provided a blueprint for the council regarding how to carry out property development projects in the future.
A single-storey building with a medical centre, ambulance bay and pharmacy is being built on the site.
The Rooney Group is acting as consultant for Waimate Property Holdings’ medical centre project, as well as for the latest proposals for the other three buildings.