Demolition plan leaves cars trapped - and a fish dinner sitting on the kitchen bench

The McDonald family was looking forward to tucking into a nice Thursday night meal of snapper. It might not be so nice ...
123RF

The McDonald family was looking forward to tucking into a nice Thursday night meal of snapper. It might not be so nice by next March.

Pete McDonald got a kilogram of snapper and cod out of his freezer on the morning of Thursday November 17 to defrost, then left for work.

He would never get to eat his dinner. His family was not allowed to return home, and their fish sits untouched on the bench a month later at the Maison Cabriole apartments off Courtenay Place.

If it's not already rotting up a stench, it will be by March, when the McDonalds may be allowed to return home.

The Reading Cinema car parking building in Wellington will be pulled down with cars still trapped inside.
SUPPLIED

The Reading Cinema car parking building in Wellington will be pulled down with cars still trapped inside.

They are among as many as 200 residents and 40 neighbouring businesses forced to leave because of fears the neighbouring Reading Cinema car parking building was at risk of imminent collapse after the Kaikoura quake.

READ MORE:
* Wellington City Council confirms Reading car park will be demolished
* Housing NZ staff evacuated, Reading Cinema car park still closed after quake
* Earthquake: Car parks at a premium

On Thursday it was confirmed the car park will be demolished, but that may not be complete until March, residents have been told.

When Pete McDonald gets back into his apartment in March, a fishy disaster awaits.
KEVIN STENT/FAIRFAX NZ.

When Pete McDonald gets back into his apartment in March, a fishy disaster awaits.

"It's just going to be a disgusting, filthy mess," McDonald said. "It's in a snaplock bag – but I'm not sure that's going to help."

Neighbour Rob Zorn is also looking forward to the car park being torn down, as he has been living at a friend's place since he was given two minutes to evacuate the Maison Cabriole with whatever possessions he could carry.

But the moment it comes down will also mean kissing his BMW goodbye.Zorn's 7-series 2002 model has been stuck in the car park since the evacuation, and will be one of nine cars demolished along with the parking building because it is not safe to retrieve them.

Reading complex evacuee Rob Zorn, whose BMW is trapped in the building, now has to commute by bus from South Karori into ...
KEVIN STENT/ FAIRFAX NZ.

Reading complex evacuee Rob Zorn, whose BMW is trapped in the building, now has to commute by bus from South Karori into town for business meetings.

Wellington City Council spokesman Richard MacLean confirmed the earthquake-damaged parking building in Tory St would almost certainly be demolished with the cars inside, which was the decision of engineers and the council.

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"At the moment, there's no intention of getting them out."

The parking building, which is next to the Courtenay Central complex, was damaged in the November 14 quake. The ramps inside were also damaged, making removal of the trapped cars too dangerous, MacLean said.

Police cordoned off the area around the Reading car park in the days after the November 14 earthquake.
GED CANN/FAIRFAX NZ

Police cordoned off the area around the Reading car park in the days after the November 14 earthquake.

While Zorn has no access to his BMW, his insurance company says that, because it is undamaged, they will not pay out until it has been destroyed in the demolition.

"It's not anybody's fault. It's very hard to find some sort of redress," Zorn said.

"It's just something I've got live with ... I'd like to get to my car, but I understand why they wouldn't let me in."He said he felt "lucky" a friend could offer him a place to stay, and he might buy a cheap replacement car in the interim.

The Courtenay Central complex in Wellington's CBD had to be shut because of the safety risk posed by the nearby cinema ...
KEITH LYNCH/FAIRFAX NZ

The Courtenay Central complex in Wellington's CBD had to be shut because of the safety risk posed by the nearby cinema parking building.

"For the last few weeks life has been very topsy-turvy."

An email from Care Park to car owners provided letters to pass on to their insurance companies, to verify the presence of their vehicles in the building for claim purposes. Another car owner said the company had not offered any compensation themselves.

Council building consents and compliance manager Mike Scott said the council was working with Reading International, engineers and a demolition company to plan how the building would be torn down and how long it would take.

The existing cordons would remain in place until demolition was complete.

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 - Stuff

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