The Nelson Provincial Council operated from 1853 until 1876, and this fine wooden building was erected to house the council in 1861. In the late 1960s the government, which had owned the building since the abolition of the provinces in 1876, decided to knock it down as it was afflicted by borer, and by wet and dry rot. A group lobbied to try and save the building. The estimated refurbishment cost was put at $150,000 in 1968 ($2.33 million in 2010 terms). The government was unwilling to fund all of this and told the council that it would need to stump up most of the cost itself. This sealed the building’s fate, and it was demolished in 1969. While a huge loss in terms of heritage, it raised the profile of other heritage buildings, and many were refurbished rather than demolished from the mid-1970s.
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Nelson Provincial Museum, Copy Collection
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