Founders centre closed for three months

The Energy Centre at Founders Heritage Park will stay closed until October. The earthquake-prone building, which was closed on Monday, is expected to be brought up to safe standards by then.

It was found to be under the national building standards with a critical structural weakness, but the Nelson City Council has begun work to strengthen it for a cost of $90,000.

The council's works and infrastructure committee yesterday decided to support moves to get the building up to 34 per cent of the national building standards so it can be opened in time for the Nelson Arts Festival.

Mayor Rachel Reese asked council staff what events had to be moved because of the closure.

Infrastructure group manager Alec Louverdis said council staff were working closely with those who had to shift, including the hospitality awards and an event for the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary, to find alternative facilities.

There was some debate on whether the council should bother with a second stage of work to bring the building up to 64 per cent of the building standards because it could result in it being closed for the further work at a later date.

Reese said she was concerned about disrupting the building once it was reopened because the city was short on event space. However, councillor Mike Ward said if there was a possibility for bringing it up to 67 per cent without disrupting the building's use he thought it should be completed.

Louverdis advised the committee to go ahead with the 67 per cent upgrade because of the low cost and he did not expect the work to disrupt any events.

The committee eventually decided the building should be brought up to 67 per cent of the building standards costing an extra $65,000.