Prego Mediterranean Foods could be left without a home after an announcement yesterday that the Nelson building it occupies is to be closed.
The Halifax St building, owned by the Nelson City Council, is rated as earthquake-prone and graded E. This means that with a seismic grade of 8 per cent, it fails to reach the 33 per cent needed to achieve an acceptable building standard.
The council also announced it would be closing the frontage of Riverside Pool and the State Advances Building next to Civic House, which is currently unoccupied.
Prego owner Peter McNairney said last night it was too early to comment on the council's decision.
"I've been going through the process of contacting staff. I haven't even had a chance to read the media release, so it's too early to make a comment at this stage."
Prego had been in the building for nearly five years, and it was only earlier that morning that he and the staff were discussing ways to celebrate its upcoming anniversary, he said.
However, it was still open for business as usual at this stage.
Council spokesman Alec Louverdis said he met with Mr McNairney to tell him the news in the afternoon, before the decision was made public.
It was not yet clear what would happen to the business or if the council would be helping Prego to relocate, he said.
"We will have to sit down with [Prego] and work through what this actually means, look at the terms of the lease. But the first step is first, we need to have that first discussion [next week]."
Mr Louverdis said he had also met with the contractors who ran Riverside Pool, and discussions had begun around finding alternative access to the facility.
The decision to close the earthquake-prone council buildings follows discussions regarding the Long Term Plan.
The main focus was on social responsibility, Mr Louverdis said.
"Council views were more in terms of their social responsibility to tenants and people utilising the buildings that have been graded as D and E."
A building with a seismic grade of 0-20 per cent is categorised as E, and a building with a grade of 20-33 per cent is rated D. Both categories are considered high risk regarding resistance to an earthquake.
"In terms of council resolution, it's pretty firm any D and E-graded buildings need to be closed. What council does past this, whether it be strengthening or demolition, will be a decision by council and still needs to be looked at," Mr Louverdis said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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