Wellington to establish one-stop-shop for earthquake recovery
Wellingtonians will soon be able to visit a 'one-stop-shop' for any post-earthquake information they may need.
From Monday, the Public Trust building on Lambton Quay will be home to Wellington City Council's Earthquake Recovery Information Centre (Eric).
The centre will help people and businesses recover after the 7.8 magnitude earthquake on November 14 that damaged the capital.
It will house representatives from agencies who will offer advice and information on support packages, insurance, earthquake preparedness, business and employment support, and health and welfare.
Information on the Government's economic support package for Wellington's quake-affected businesses will also be available.
Wellington Mayor Justin Lester said the centre would be filled with experts who can help Wellingtonians.
"We want to make things easier for people seeking access to help, advice and support following the quake."
The council is working with the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency (Wreda), the Ministry of Social Development, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Inland Revenue and relevant community organisations to provide resources for the information centre.
City council recovery manager Mike Mendonca said one of the frustrations for people after the Christchurch earthquake was having to go to multiple agencies to get advice and help.
"Having all the key agencies and experts in one place will help businesses and individuals deal with post-quake issues quickly and more easily."
People affected by the quake were already carrying some stress, and they needed to be helped through this period, he said.
Simon Marsh, the city council's economic development portfolio leader, said a lot of businesses had indicated they needed help from many agencies, and the Eric centre would facilitate them with that.
It fitted with the council's philosophy of 'open for business,' he said.
First Retail Group managing director Chris Wilkinson said the centre would be a vital part of Wellington's recovery after the quake.
"One site for people to ask questions and get solutions has been something that has been needed in the social and commercial aspects of the recovery. This will accelerate the process."
Wellington developer and engineer Maurice Clark, who owns the Public Trust building, said he was happy to help out with a minimal rent arrangement for the three-month tenancy.
The large site was previously set to be home to Jamie Oliver's first New Zealand restaurant before the company that owned the franchise pulled out.
Clark said the idea to use the Public Trust building for Eric came about after Wilkinson and Wreda approached him.
The centre will be open on weekdays, from 10am to 7pm, and If there was demand it could be extended to open on Saturdays.