Uncertain future for St James' buildings

22:01, Jul 14 2014
Wesley College
CLOSED: Wesley College will use money from the development of farmland around the school to reinforce its chapel after it failed earthquake testing.

The future of two Pukekohe St James Presbyterian Church buildings remains up in the air after they failed seismic testing in June last year.

The main church building, built in 1961, and the old church building, built in 1868, have both been shut since.

A spokesperson from the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand said they were still deciding if they would reinforce the buildings or rebuild them.

Wesley College's chapel, built in 1929, has also been closed after it failed earthquake testing.

Wesley College Trust Board's Chris Johnston said the college hall had been converted into a chapel while the building was out of action.

He said they would use money from the development of farmland around the school to strengthen the chapel.


Last year, the Pukekohe Reformed Church opted to rebuild its hall, which was built in 1929 due to its deterioration.

During the demolition, they found it was lacking foundations and was earthquake-prone. The new church hall was open in March.

An Auckland Council spokesperson said they have seismic performance assessments for 139 buildings in the Franklin Ward with 12 identified as being potentially earthquake-prone.

They said they could not reveal which buildings as they were still working through the reports with the owners.

Waikato District Council's acting property manager Bryan Bang said the council had identified 419 buildings that could be earthquake prone.

Bang said the Anglican Diocese had completed a private assessment on St Paul's Anglican Church in Huntly which showed the building met the required standard of earthquake strength required under the Building Act.

Council's general manager customer support Sue Duignan said they had not assessed buildings in the former Franklin District Council area yet.

Meanwhile, Thames-Coromandel District Council said it would work proactively with heritage building owners once they knew what the final Building Act amendment said.

The council has done a preliminary assessment of building stock on the Coromandel and identified none as high risk. Coromandel's heritage buildings are predominantly timber framed and timber clad and are usually of a relatively low scale - two stories at the most.

Hauraki District Council's planning and environmental services manager Peter Thom said the council would review its policy relating to dangerous, earthquake-prone and insanitary buildings once the Government's Building Act amendment was enacted.