Wellington Scoop

Council seeks to identify quake-prone ‘priority’ buildings

News from Wellington City Council
The Wellington City Council has today opened a Government-required consultation to identify priority earthquake-prone buildings, including those on key transport routes, which will need to be strengthened in a shorter timeframe.

Changes to the Building Act following the Christchurch and Kaikoura earthquakes mean ‘priority’ buildings must be strengthened in seven-and-a-half years rather than the normal 15 years.

The new deadline applies to high-risk quake areas identified around the country. This includes Wellington, Christchurch, Napier/Hastings, Gisborne, Blenheim and Palmerston North.

Some priority buildings are identified by Government legislation and others by councils in consultation with their community.

The aim is to ensure the cities are safer for the public and can continue to operate following a damaging quake.

“Priority buildings identified through legislation include hospitals, medical facilities, buildings used for emergency services and emergency shelters, and most education facilities,” says Wellington Mayor Justin Lester. “The Council has to work with the community to identify other priority buildings that could fall onto busy traffic and emergency transport routes. It will be critical for these routes to remain open and not be blocked by falling masonry or risky buildings.

“Such strengthening work also obviously makes it safer for the public during a quake. The Council is also investing in making the city’s infrastructure more resilient.”

The consultation identifies roads the Council considers priority transport and emergency routes and asks Wellingtonians to give their opinion on those routes.

The Council’s Infrastructure and Sustainability Portfolio Leader, Councillor Iona Pannett, says the Council is very aware of the pressure that will come on building owners if their building is identified as priority.

“Part of the consultation asks about the support the Council currently provides – such as rates remissions, consent subsidies, funding for heritage buildings and advice and guidance.

“We are keen to hear if there is more we can do to help owners so I really encourage people to take this opportunity to give us your ideas.

“It’s important that we hear from people and understand how we can provide support before making any final decisions.

“I’m also willing to talk to any group that wants to hear from the Council about the process.”

A public information evening on the consultation will be held on 30 October at the CQ Hotel, 223 Cuba Street, from 6pm-7.30pm. Please RSVP to Sharon.Bennett@wcc.govt.nz for catering purposes.
To have your say go to the Council website www.wcc.govt.nz/priority-buildings or collect a statement of proposal and submission form from the Council service centre or libraries or get one mailed to you by calling the Council on 04 499 4444.

Proposed timeframe:
19 October – written submissions open
23 November – written submissions close
6 December (tentative) – oral hearings
Feb 2019 – City Strategy Committee considers submissions
March – Council decides whether to adopt the proposal
April – proposal becomes operational
December 2019 – priority building owners will be notified that they have 7.5 years to strengthen their buildings.

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  1. Harry M, 20. October 2018, 10:56

    The govt’s submission process is a sham and is for the ‘democracy show’ only.
    As there is no “time frame” for an earthquake, there can be no “time frame” for the plan. That the WCC believe you can make buildings on fault-lines “safe” and “earthquake proof” is a very silly notion indeed.
    Making an earthquake prediction for “2 years” “5 years” or “10 years” is daft .
    These types of wacky causes only financially hurt building owners (except those with close relationships with the council).

  2. Bernard C, 20. October 2018, 13:46

    No earthquakes for 8.5 years, is that the WCC assumption that it’s based on? I wonder how much ratepayers will be on the hook for? There is no way to tell if a building can be operated until assessing the damage AFTER the quake.Also the emergency routes will depend on the damage, no way to pre select them.

  3. Cecil Roads, 21. October 2018, 12:09

    This is never ending bureaucracy! Wellington has done very well since the Victorians planned and started building our town. The only problems have been latter day wanna be clever architects obsessed with glass and fancy designs. Go back to simple design and reduce council involvement.