14 April 2015

Demolition work on historic Echo begins in Picton:

The Echo being demolished in Picton marina.

Demolition work has started on a century-old Picton ship.

Workers began tearing down the Echo, owned by Port Marlborough, on Wednesday morning.

The scow has sat on blocks at Picton marina after years carrying freight between Blenheim and Wellington. The ship served as a cafe and restaurant for many years.

Port Marlborough projects manager Rose Prendeville said demolishing the ship would take between two and four weeks.

Disruption to traffic was expected to be minor, Prendeville said.

Port Marlborough applied for resource consent to demolish the Echo last year after the company purchased the scow from private owners.

Prendeville said the ship was "well and truly beyond repair" by the time Port Marlborough bought it.

"We don't like to see old ships go but the state of it was such that we were concerned it was an earthquake risk."

Port Marlborough consulted with the Marlborough Historic Society, the Edwin Fox Society and Marlborough Museum to make sure valuable historic items were preserved from the ship.

Prendeville said items saved from the ship included deck lights, port holes and the ship's wheel, which was presented to the Edwin Fox Society. It was possible that some of the ship's timber would also be salvaged.

Many of the original items of historic value were stripped while the Echo was under private ownership, Prendeville said.

Picton man John Norton, who worked loading and unloading cargo from the Echo in the 1950s, stopped to watch the demolition work on the Echo while walking his two dogs on Wednesday.

The Echo had a varied career, Norton said.

"It's from another era really."

He said he was not too sad to see the ship go.

"It's useless now. It's past its used by date."

Aucklander Ben Altoft, whose parents live in Picton, said it was sad to see the Echo go.

"It's a shame when an old landmark is demolished."

Brian Brown, of Picton, said he had friends who worked on the Echo when he lived in Lower Hutt about 40 years ago.

"It's a pity really [to see it demolished] but it had to be because it's just got too rotten."

Cougar Line co-owner Jill Evans said the Echo had been at the Picton marina for the 13 years she had been with the business.

"It's part of the town. It's always sad to see a piece of history go."

Source: stuff. 22 April 2015

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