Public consultation on earthquake-prone priority buildings goes ahead

Published on 01 February 2018

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Horowhenua District Council has approved public consultation to identify parts of Horowhenua which meet the criteria to be designated as priority areas under the new Building (Earthquake-prone Buildings) Amendment Act 2016.

Priority areas are busy roads or footpaths where falling masonry from buildings damaged in an earthquake would pose a high risk to life and public safety. Buildings located in these areas will be designated as priority buildings under the Act.

The Act makes it Council’s role to identify all potentially earthquake-prone buildings within set timeframes, assign an earthquake rating if applicable, and put the information into a national register.

“To reduce the risks posed by earthquake-prone priority buildings, Council must identify such buildings within 2.5 years, and building owners must have them strengthened or demolished within 7.5 years – half the time allowed for other earthquake-prone buildings,” said Horowhenua District Council Project Coordination Lead Cathryn Pollock.

Following last night’s decision, Council will begin public consultation to identify roads and footpaths in Horowhenua that are busy enough to warrant prioritisation.

Council has proposed areas in Levin, Foxton and Shannon which it considers to have sufficient vehicle or pedestrian traffic to warrant prioritisation. These are: the Levin CBD, covering Oxford Street from Bath Street to Stanley Street, and part of Queen Street; Main Street, Foxton, from Wharf Street to Ravensworth Place; and 36-62 Plimmer Terrace, Shannon.

Mrs Pollock said Council would seek public input on whether the community agreed or disagreed with the proposed areas, reasons for any disagreement, and if there were any additional roads or footpaths that should be prioritised.

She said that once a decision had been taken following the consultation period, all public buildings in identified priority areas would be assessed and assigned an earthquake rating.

“Public buildings are those which are open to the public, such as shops, schools, libraries and police stations. If you own, rent or use public buildings, this new law will affect you.”

Mayor Michael Feyen urged members of the community to contribute their input during the consultation.

“Horowhenua is in a high earthquake risk zone. For us, there is a high probability of a severe earthquake at some time in the future. If we are to protect our people and our property when it occurs, we need to be prepared,” he said.

The consultation period opens on Wednesday 21 February and closes on Monday 26 March 2018.

Submissions can be made on the Have Your Say page, emailed to EPB@Horowhenua.govt.nz, delivered to Council’s customer service centres in Levin and Foxton, or posted to: Horowhenua District Council, Submission – Priority Buildings, Private Bag 4002, Horowhenua 5540.