Council Buildings to be Earthquake Strengthened

Council Buildings to be Earthquake Strengthened

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

At Monday’s Policy Development Meeting the South Taranaki District Council decided to earthquake strengthen five public buildings so they meet New Building Standards.

The buildings to be strengthened are the Manaia and Eltham Town Halls, the Hunter Shaw Building in Patea, the Hawera Memorial Theatre and Water Tower.

The combined cost of strengthening the five buildings is estimated to be between $800– $900,000, which South Taranaki Mayor, Ross Dunlop, says is a small price to pay when it comes to public safety.

The Council had budgeted $3 million over the next 10 years to structurally upgrade Council owned earthquake prone buildings as part of its Long Term Plan.

Mayor Dunlop says the decision to temporarily close the buildings was taken after structural engineers’ reports advised they did not meet the minimum 34% New Building Standard (NBS) and were classified as earthquake prone.

“The good news was that the Hawera Water Tower was found to be structurally sound, meeting 70% NBS and would require no further strengthening work. This has minimised our costs considerably, because of all the buildings the Water Tower was the one that was potentially going to be the most expensive,” he says.

However unreinforced masonry balustrade on the Tower did present a risk of falling on people during a moderate earthquake event, and would need to be fixed, though the costs would be minimal in comparison.

No decision has been made on the future of the Hawera Memorial Hall which was also closed after meeting only 10% of the NBS. Councillors have instructed officers to report back to Council once more detail around costs of strengthening, refurbishment and usage was known.

ENDS

Background

Hunter Shaw Building was closed in August 2013 after meeting only 11% of NBS

Hawera Memorial Hall was closed in April 2015 after meeting only 10% of NBS

Hawera Memorial Theatre was closed in May 2015 after meeting only 23% of NBS

Manaia Town Hall was closed in June 2015 after meeting only 11% of NBS

Eltham Town Hall was closed in August 2015 after meeting only 20% of NBS

Hawera Water Tower was closed in August 2015