Cars still 'trapped' in quake-hit parking buildings

21:14, Jul 23 2013
Wellington earthquake
Windows broken at Quest hotel.
Wellington earthquake
Cracks at Reading Cinema.
Wellington earthquake
Miramar New World faces a big tidy up after the quake.
Wellington earthquake
Huge crack at Wellington waterfront.
Wellington earthquake
Damage in Featherston St.
Wellington earthquake
Bottles are strewn all over the floor at the New World in Thorndon .
Wellington earthquake
Seymour Square memorial clock in central Blenheim stopped at the time of the quake.
Wellington earthquake
Briscoes in Lower Hutt has had some stock destroyed.
Wellington earthquake
Cracks in the ground at the Wellington waterfront.
Central NZ hit by earthquake
Mackenzie Presten, 10, with caregiver Anthony Mills duck for cover at the ASB sports centre in Kilbirnie during the earthquake.
Central NZ hit by earthquake
The New World supermarket in Blenheim is closed after the earthquake.
6.5 quake in central
The law library at Victoria University.
Central NZ hit by earthquake
Wellington City Council building being cordoned off after the earthquake.
Wellington quake defcon
Shattered building glass on The Terrace in Wellington.
Wellington quake defcon
The Kelburn Four Square, Wellington.
Wellington quake defcon
Damage to Hannah Turvey's apartment on Taranaki St, Wellington.
Petone Clock
The Petone clock stopped at 5.10pm when the 6.5 magnitude earthquake struck.
Wellington quake defcon
Damage at the Quest hotel in central Wellington.
Wellington quake defcon
Damage at a Liquor King story on the Kapiti coast.
Wellington quake defcon
A police cordon on Wellington's Webb St near the Mercure Hotel in the background, which was evacuated after the 6.5 quake.
Wellington quake defcon
Evacuees being taken into the Wellington Church Of Christ to keep warm after the Mercure Hotel was evacuated and cordoned.
Wellington quake defcon
Severe damage at BNZ's Harbour Quays buildings. Picture posted by @tracy_earl on Twitter.
Wellington quake
Wellington Railway Station completely empty at about 8am today.
Wellington quake
The clean-up begins at Regional Wines and Spirits near the Basin Reserve.
Wellington quake defcon
Damage at Centreport, Wellington after 15 square metres of sea wall and road had slumped into the sea at the southern end of the container terminal.
Wellington quake defcon
Damage at Centreport, Wellington
Wellington quake
"Things were thrown around" the bedroom of a Thorndon, Wellington home.
Wellington quake
Bridget Thurlow cleans up her mothers Simpson Street Seddon home after last night's quake. The house sustained extensive damage. Her mother Elva Tombs was traumatised and spent the night with family in Blenheim.
Wellington quake
Property owner Kurt Flowerday inspects the damage to his Seymour Street, Seddon property.
Wellington quake
Supervalue Seddon employee Sheryll Kamat and owner Marie Flowerday (in front) clean up after building inspectors gave them the all clear to re-enter the building.
Featherston St post-quake
Workers in Wellington's Featherston St, cordoned off with quake damage.
Wellington quake
A picture of politician Steven Joyce's office post-quake. Photo from @cjsbishop.
Featherston St post-quake
Multiple windows were shattered in the old Dominion Farmers Institute building.
Featherston St post-quake
A photo taken of a crack in the ground at the Clyde Quay development on the Chaffer's Dock end of Wellington's waterfront.
Wellington quake
Lambton Quay quiet at lunchtime on a Monday: Department of Internal Affairs compliance officer, Gareth Bostock, sits on a Lambton Quay bus stop waiting for his office building to open so he can get back to work.
Wellington quake
Workers fix windows at the Harbour City Shopping Centre building in Wellington.
Wellington quake
The Commanding Officer of the Urban Search and Rescue operation in Wellington City, Graeme Mills, at his command centre on The Terrace today. Pictured with him from left to right are senior fire-fighter Matthew Salt and station officer Chris Faithfull.
Wellington quake defcon
Damage at Centreport, Wellington after 15 square metres of sea wall and road had slumped into the sea at the southern end of the container terminal.
Wellington quake
Damage to buildings on Featherston St: the building on the right is 131 Featherston.
Wellington quake
Photo taken at the MSD Contact Centre in Lower Hutt that has now been closed due to earthquake damage.
Wellington quake
Damage to a building in Wellington's Taranaki Street.
Wellington quake
A sign on Wellington's SH1 near Johnsonville asking people to avoid entering the city's CBD.
Wellington quake
Paul Lloyd-Jones, cleaning up the mess at his store Thirsty Liqour Newlands.
Wellington quake
The Wellington waterfront at lunchtime the day after the 6.5 magnitude earthquake in Wellington.
Wellington quake
Chairman Warren Larsen inspects damage to Wellington's CentrePort caused by yesterdays 6.5 earthquake.
Wellington quake
Damage to Wellington's CentrePort caused by yesterdays 6.5 earthquake.
Wellington quake
Damage to the Old Bank Arcade in Wellington.
Wellington quake
An earthquake damage assessment team at St Mary of the Angels church on Boulcott Street.
Wellington quake
An earthquake damage assessment team looks for damage at St Mary of the Angels church on Boulcott Street.
Wellington quake defcon
French tourist Luca Zappula photographed the White Bluffs from the Wairau Bar minutes before the quake (left), while the photo on the right shows the dust settling afterwards, with a small piece of the headland appearing to be missing.

Cordons continue along Wellington's Featherston St while some central city parking buildings have turned into car prisons, following Sunday's 6.5-magnitude quake.

The central city came back to life yesterday but there were still some visual reminders of the earthquake.

A dozen buildings in Featherston St remained cordoned off because of the dangers of loose masonry and glass, forcing pedestrians to zigzag across the road to navigate it.

car parks
OUT OF ACTION: Workers check damage to the covered link between the Wellington City Council building and the city library.

Three parking buildings were shut down after the quake - at Reading Courtenay, James Smith and Victoria St - leaving about 1500 parking spaces out of action.

Care Park operations manager Chris Tchernegovski said 75 cars were stuck inside the Reading building while a thorough engineering inspection was being done.

"I can certainly understand the frustration of those car owners, but our No 1 priority is safety."

Advertisement

Lower Hutt man Bill Sheat said he was still waiting to claim his Toyota Corolla from the Reading building yesterday. "They said it would be at least tomorrow [Wednesday] before I get it back, so I'm not pushing my luck."

A Tournament Parking spokeswoman said a handful of cars were stuck inside its car park at the James Smith Centre while inspections were being done.

In central Wellington, returning workers admitted to a few nerves but were positive about the city's recovery.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said all civic buildings had been declared free of damage except for the portico link between the council offices and Wellington Library. The link would be torn down in April or May next year.

Wellington's Central Library will be closed from this morning, and may remain so for at least two days, while loose plaster render is removed from some of the pillars.

Police, fire and urban search and rescue had been stood down to return to normal duties, Wade-Brown said.

Council earthquake resilience manager Neville Brown said most visual inspections on buildings had been done, so the all-clear should be given "reasonably quickly".

HERITAGE BUILDING TOO DAMAGED FOR TENANTS TO RETURN

Earthquake damage has forced a government agency out of its heritage-listed central Welllington building, and driven the Greater Wellington Regional Council to speed up its relocation plans.

Creative New Zealand left its offices in the 1909 Old Public Trust Building in Stout St yesterday and says it will not return.

The building is part-owned by the agency and houses its head office, a legal chambers, a sports medicine centre, a tailor and a Trelise Cooper store. The law offices and Capital Sports Medicine have also left.

It is Category 1 listed by the Historic Places Trust as "a superb example of a public and commercial building of the Edwardian period" which has "special or outstanding value".

It is on the Wellington City Council's list of earthquake-prone buildings and was yellow-stickered, meaning it needed strengthening work.

Creative NZ senior manager of planning, performance and stakeholder relations Sarah Tebbs said engineers had decreed the offices could not be used again.

There were cracks in the walls, exposing brickwork, and a lot of plaster had fallen, she said.

The organisation's communications manager, Helen Isbister, said the full extent of the damage was not yet clear, but Creative NZ would not be going back.

Engineers Dunning Thornton said more structural investigation needed to be done, but occupation was not recommended, she said. The building was damaged from the ground floor up and it was too early to say how much it might cost to restore.

At the building yesterday, Creative NZ staff were recovering items from the office. They refused to be interviewed.

In 2011, Creative NZ was told the building, which it part-bought in the early 1990s, needed $1.5 million strengthening work.

Trelise Cooper licensee Penny Barnett said she had been told her shop was safe by engineers and would remain open.

The regional council offices in Wakefield St were also a known earthquake risk, and the council planned to move to Shed 39 on the waterfront by November.

However, after Sunday's earthquake "compromised" the stairwells and burst water pipes, chief executive Dave Benham said the move would begin immediately, and at least half of the 280 staff would be shifted within the next two weeks.

The ground floor and reception will remain open to the public.

FRUSTRATING WAIT

The Featherston Bar & Grill was one of those buildings. Owner Russel Scott said it had been a frustrating couple of days waiting for 15 broken windows to be removed.

The job was going to take about a week but he planned to open for business again today by getting customers in through the back door in Johnston St.

"We're not expecting to do much business, to be frank, but we've got a lot of loyal customers and we'll be in touch with them through social media."

The financial cost of having been closed since Sunday night was "substantial" but he was thankful the only damage inside was a bit of chipped paint.

"Not even one bottle of liquor toppled over . . . if this is the worst we have to put up with, then so be it. At least no-one got hurt."

Out of the 2500 buildings in the CBD, 35 were found to have external damage.

Shed 39 has just completed strengthening work, but the interior still needs to be fitted out. The council will work around that until completion, expected in November.

Staff will also work from the Masterton and Hutt Valley offices and depots.

Benham said the Wakefield St building was no worse structurally than it was before the quake, and it was safe to use the ground floor and reception, but not the stairs.

"Fundamentally, they are compromised. There is work which could be done to make them safe . . . but we believe it is sensible to move people from the building."

The BNZ building, on Harbour Quays, remains shut, having suffered internal damage. It is not known when it could reopen.

The Statistics New Zealand building in the same area will reopen today.

The Dominion Post