Containers to block quake masonry from hitting pedestrians, not sign of demolition

The General Officer In Command building in Taranaki St, with new pedestrian-protecting footpaths.
JOEL MAXWELL

The General Officer In Command building in Taranaki St, with new pedestrian-protecting footpaths.

A historic building in Wellington's Taranaki St isn't yet at risk from humans - but humans could be at risk from it.

The NZ Defence Force has confirmed a military building is safe - for now - from demolition, and works installing containers around it are to protect passersby.

The General Officer In Command building in Taranaki St has had containers placed near it in the past week, sparking concerns a sneaky demolition was about to begin.

Mt Cook Mobilised spokesman Peter Cooke and Wellington City councillor Iona Pannett last year in front of the 1911 building.
CAMERON BURNELL/FAIRFAX NZ

Mt Cook Mobilised spokesman Peter Cooke and Wellington City councillor Iona Pannett last year in front of the 1911 building.

Last year the NZDF gained consent to demolish the building, along with the neighbouring HMNZS Olphert after they were found to meet less than 10 per cent of current building standards,

READ MORE:
* Wrecking ball looms for building

On Friday Wellington City councillor Iona Pannett said she understood the building was not about to be demolished, and the containers were for pedestrian safety.

Since the containers had arrived Pannett had been contacted by community members concerned the building was being demolished.

The council would be discussing the building's future with the NZDF and the containers were a "safety measure" while any decisions were made.

Pannett said the building had not been red-stickered so the move was a voluntary one on the part of the NZDF.

"We're not encouraging all buildings with a yellow sticker to take the same measures. We've got over 700 of them."

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The  building is beside the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park and is listed by Heritage New Zealand as a Category 2 historic building.

"We think it's got quite a lot of merit, and it's got some public support behind keeping it as part of the memorial park."

An NZDF spokesman confirmed the containers were to keep passersby safe from the building, which was about 9 per cent of building standards.

"The building is vacant but given its location on a busy thoroughfare, the NZDF is placing containers on the footpaths nearby to shelter the public from falling masonry in a significant earthquake."

​No decisions have been made about the site in the long-term, he said.

Last year supporters of keeping the building staged a silent gathering outside the site on Armistice Day.

They said in relative terms, given New Zealand's brief post-European history, it would be like ripping down The Tower of London in Britain.

 

 - Stuff

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