Councils differ on quake-risk details

MATHEW GROCOTT
Last updated 05:36 09/02/2013

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When it comes to telling ratepayers about earthquake-prone buildings in their patch local councils around Manawatu are split.

Government proposals for dealing with at risk buildings would, if adopted, require all councils to survey potentially dangerous buildings in their area and assess their earthquake risk within five years.

This would give them a list of buildings that needed to be either strengthened or demolished by their owners within another 10 years.

But views are split among councils in Manawatu about whether that list should be publicly available.

Horowhenua District Council chief executive David Ward said that at this stage the council would not be making information about earthquake-prone buildings publicly available.

However, the information would be available on LIM reports.

Although there was a list of potentially at-risk buildings collated several years ago the council was yet to carry out any new surveys and was waiting for the Government to pass legislation.

Palmerston North City Council has been reporting since late 2011 information on what buildings it has found to be earthquake-prone.

So far 116 structures in the city have been identified, with the list available on the council's website.

Chief executive Paddy Clifford said there was no reason to withhold the information once property owners had been informed.

"On this important issue we wanted to be open and transparent with the public and we thought people had a right to know."

Mr Clifford said he could not recall any negative feedback from releasing information about the buildings, which were added to the list once they were confirmed as earthquake-prone.

Tararua District Council chief executive Blair King said buildings in Tararua had not yet been surveyed.

However, if and when any buildings were identified as being at risk in an earthquake, that information would be made publicly available.

Mr King said the public had a right to know which buildings were at risk and as the information would have to be included on a LIM report it made sense to make it freely available.

Manawatu District Council environment and support services group manager Shayne Harris said the council would make public a list of all earthquake-prone buildings in the Manawatu District once all such buildings had been identified and their status independently confirmed as earthquake prone.

Rangitikei District Mayor Chalky Leary said his council was yet to discuss its approach to earthquake-prone buildings and how to report information about them.

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- Manawatu Standard

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