Wellington quake list falls short, property owner warns

9:15 pm on 20 December 2016

A council list of sites needing fresh earthquake checks is missing some at-risk buildings, a Wellington property owner says.

Intercontinental Hotel, Asteron building, Wellington

Two of the buildings on the Wellington City Council's list: The InterContinental Hotel, left, and the Asteron Centre Photo: Google Maps / RNZ

The council has ordered the owners of 80 buildings to carry out further earthquake testing, naming those structures in a public list today.

Buildings to be checked include:

  • Reinforced-concrete frame structures with precast concrete flooring
  • Typically eight to 15 storeys, but as low as four floors for highly-flexible frames
  • Sited on soft soil or ground features that might amplify ground shaking

But one affected developer, Ian Cassels, said there were properties not included on the list that should have been.

"There were buildings that people got tremendously upset in, [that have been built] not on particularly good grounds, that would be much more prime candidates for examination than, for instance, buildings that are on good ground and haven't demonstrated a crack."

Mr Cassels said he was disappointed he had not been consulted before the list was made public.

He wanted to know how the council had decided which buildings needed another assessment, he said.

Checks must be carried out by 10 February and were expected to cost up to $5000 each. Engineering firms around the region have brought in extra staff from further afield in response.

A council spokesperson said two buildings would likely be given the all clear within 24 hours after their owners sent in assessments.

Proprietors did not want any uncertainty about the safety of their buildings and were moving quickly to get the reports done, the spokesperson said.

Lower Hutt supermarket reopens

Meanwhile, after being closed for a month due to earthquake damage to the Queensgate Shopping Centre, it was a relief for Lower Hutt's New World supermarket to finally be able to reopen this afternoon.

Authorities have ordered the demolition of the mall cinema and car park as a result of the quake damage, but the cordon which had extended to the supermarket across the road has now been reduced.

About 30 or 40 shoppers lined up as the doors opened at 1pm, and the store was soon humming and the tills ringing.

Owner-operator Steve Williams said this was the busiest time of the year for supermarkets and it had been tough being closed for a month.

He said a pop-up store in a marquee had seemed to work well despite many hurdles along the way.

Mr Williams said the reaction from customers was overwhelming and he was grateful for the support from Foodstuffs and the local council.

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