Stratford landmarks declared earthquake-prone

9:10 am on 20 May 2023
TET Multi-Sport Centre

TET Multi-Sport Centre. Photo: Stratford District Council / Supplied

Three prominent council-owned buildings in Stratford have been issued with earthquake-prone building notices, including its famous Glockenspiel clock tower.

Other buildings to fail seismic assessments include the Stratford War Memorial Centre and the TET Multi-Sport Centre.

TET Multi-Sport Centre

TET Multi-Sport Centre. Photo: Stratford District Council / Supplied

Mayor Neil Volzke said it was a worry for the central Taranaki town.

"Naturally it is a concern for us. The Memorial Hall, the multi-sports centre at TET and the Glockenspiel tower are all quite iconic features of our landscape and all of those structures will need some work to bring them up to earthquake standard."

Earthquake-prone buildings are those classified as less than 34 percent of the new building standard for an equivalent structure.

The ratings for the three affected buildings were:

  • War Memorial Centre: 15 percent
  • TET Multi-Sport Centre: 20 percent
  • Glockenspiel Clock Tower: 25 percent
    • Notices would be posted on the buildings with information about their potential performance in a moderate earthquake, their rating, and the date when strengthening or other solution must be completed.

      Volzke said it would still be possible to use the facilities, but they would legally need to have their problems remedied.

      Stratford War Memorial Centre.

      Stratford War Memorial Centre. Photo: Stratford District Council / Supplied

      "Effectively it means the process has started, the clock is ticking, and depending on what the buildings are used for determines how long you've got to fix it it can be 12 and a half or up to 25 years.

      "So, there's a fair bit of time but once this information is made know to you - the council - I think we have a responsibility to move on that as soon as we possibly can."

      Volzke said the problem was particularly pressing for the Memorial Hall.

      "It's used on a daily basis and there's some quite big gatherings of people in there, so while we don't anticipate it falling down upon anybody the legislation requires us to go about strengthening that and doing that as soon as we can."

      Volzke said what rating council wanted to take the buildings up to could also be important.

      "If you're going to use them for civil defence purposes, then the need to go to 100 percent (of the new building standard) and potentially that could apply to the Memorial Hall or the TET Stadium.

      "And if we were to choose one of those it is more likely to be the stadium because it's a newer structure."

      Volzke said the next question would be how to pay for earthquake-strengthening.

      "Well that's the big elephant in the room and things are very tight at the moment as we all know, and I would suggest because of the amount of money needed a loan would be the way we'd deal with those."

      "We don't have to do them all at once - they can be phased, and those are decisions we've got to make in the future."

      The council's audit and risk committee discussed the assessment at its meeting this week.

      Says sales at a council subdivision are proof the town is alive and kicking.

      Mayor Neil Volzke Photo: RNZ / Robin Martin

      It asked council officers to investigate the costs of strengthening the War Memorial Centre and TET Multi Sport Centre and agreed to have a detailed seismic assessment completed for the Glockenspiel to better understand the options available for it.

      It also requested that the cost investigations for the War Memorial Centre and TET Multi Sport Centre include an option for improvements to meet the standard required for designated Civil Defence Centres, and to identify alternative facilities within the district (existing or new) that could be used for a Civil Defence response.

      The TSB Pool Complex, which was currently not in use, also had a preliminary assessment undertaken which indicated that it was also unlikely to achieve 34 percent of the current building standard.

      The committee asked staff to provide an estimate for demolishing this building and reinstating the land back to ground level.

      These cost estimates and any additional information would be provided to the full council for consideration later this year and form part of the Long Term Plan 2024-34 process.

      The Stratford District Council had also started work to identify potentially earthquake-prone buildings across the whole district. The building services team would be approaching property owners regarding these assessments from August 2023.

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