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Shot Tower demolished

The Colonial Ammunition Company Shot Tower in Normanby Rd, Mt Eden, a Category I and Category A heritage item, has been demolished. It had stood for 109 years and was the last remaining 20th century tower of its sort in Australasia. The tower was built to produce lead ammunition as demand increased during World War I. The Colonial Ammunition Company that used the tower closed in 1986.

Minister Megan Woods gave approval for the shot tower to be demolished. Residents in the apartments near the tower were evacuated ahead of Cyclone Gabrielle.

CTA is of the view that the demolition of this Category I and Category A heritage item on 21 February was carried out with undue haste and that there were alternatives to demolition. For example, the tower could have been taken across the road to the empty carpark and dismantled, then stored until a decision was made to adaptively re-use it somewhere else, perhaps on that site across the road where still stands the original scheduled brick CAC office building, or at MOTAT.  

We are interested to understand how the tower was demolished so quickly, and to know the protocol and who is involved when a decision is made during a weather event or an earthquake or when there is a perceived risk to the public.

With reforms to the Resource Management Act underway and the likelihood that Category B and Category II items throughout the country will be at greater risk, CTA suggests there needs to be a new approach with better protections in place to prevent the loss of heritage through hasty decisions without consideration of alternatives.

Image: Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections 1528-82050