Engineers checking quake damage to council buildings in Palmerston North

Palmerston North City Council engineers are this morning assessing all Council buildings, especially those on the Earthquake Prone Building List, after yesterday’s earthquake.

“We’ve identified some superficial damage such as door frames twisting,” says the Palmerston North City Council’s parks and property manager John Brenkley.

“However to date nothing structural has been identified. The lifts in the Central Administration Building and Palmerston North City Library have, as they are designed to do in an earthquake, stopped working and service engineers have been called.”

John Brenkley says he’ll have a better idea of the situation later in the day.

Yesterday’s earthquake was a strong reminder for Palmerston North residents and businesses to be more prepared, says the head of emergency management at the Palmerston North City Council, Stewart Davies.

“Yesterday, Council staff assessed infrastructure in the city and luckily we have escaped with minor damage.”

Stewart Davies says it’s not a matter of if an earthquake will strike, it is a matter of when and we all should be prepared. “This is more important now as GNS scientists are predicting aftershocks for some time to come.”

Everyone should secure items such as wall units, bookshelves, hotwater cylinders and televisions. “A good rule of thumb is if it could fall and hurt someone then you should find a way to secure it to a wall.”

The earthquake damaged some chimneys in the city. “I urge everyone with fireplaces to have them checked. Historically there have been cases of fires in homes many months after earthquakes, caused by an unchecked damaged chimney. Be safe, be certain and get it checked.”

BusinessDesk report by Suze Metherell
A Masterton building has been red stickered and roads in the area are cracked after thea 6.2 magnitude earthquake. District councils report superficial damage to public property.

The CBD residential apartment building is being inspected by engineers today, and the Masterton District Council expects to have a report this evening on whether or not the 15 affected residents can return to their home council chief executive Wes ten Hove told BusinessDesk. Two other privately-owned buildings had also been queried after cracks were seen on their walls.

Public buildings in the area had no reports of damage so far, but roads had been affected by the quake.

“The most significant and obvious cracks are the number of roads that will definitely require repair,” ten Hove said. The district council and the New Zealand Transport Authority would share the road repairs cost between them, he said.

Masterton council’s ten Hove said there had been a few books off the shelves in the library, but public buildings were fine but “we’ll be looking to make sure the integrity of our public buildings have not been compromised.”

Bridges in the district are still being tested, but there have been no reports of damage, nor has there been any damage to waste water, he said. There have been reports of a few chimneys falling in.

South Wairarapa survived the quake unscathed, according to the district’s Mayor Adrienne Staples. “Here in the South Wairarapa it seems to be mainly superficial,” Staples told BusinessDesk. “Our engineers have checked everything. There is nothing that’s affected our operations.”


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