Prego to move despite council backtrack
The owners of a specialty food business in Nelson say they are moving out of city council-owned premises, despite the council's decision yesterday to reverse plans to close certain earthquake-prone buildings.
Claudia Kern and Mac McNairney of Prego Mediterranean Foods said today they had always disagreed with the council's decision in June to close the building they leased a part of.
They said it was wrong of the council, and while they were happy that councillors recognised that and had corrected the mistake, it had not been without consequences.
"There has been considerable stress, angst and expense. We have also spent time searching for alternative premises - in the end successfully. We feel it would not be in the best interests of our business to stay at 23 Halifax St and plan to relocate in 2013," Mr McNairney said.
The city council yesterday revoked a decision made in June to close all council-owned buildings categorised as earthquake-prone, with a "D" or "E" rating as a matter of urgency, following further information received as part of detailed assessments undertaken after the June meeting.
The initial decision affected the State Advances Building, the building housing Prego Mediterranean Foods and the Riverside Pool frontage. The Riverside Pool facility is not earthquake-prone.
A building with a seismic grade of 0-20 per cent is categorised E and a building with a seismic grade of 20-33 per cent is rated D. Both these categories are considered high risk (earthquake-prone) with resistance to earthquake that is less than 33 per cent of the new building standard.
The building housing Mediterranean Foods has been given a final rating of 25 per cent of the new building standard.
Reversal of the decision meant the building had been granted a reprieve until at least 2022, by which time either earthquake strengthening work would have to be done or demolition completed.
The council also decided yesterday not to carry out strengthening work to the Halifax St building in the interim, which would cost up to $500,000.
The council's building unit instead reissued a new Section 124 notice for the building following receipt of a detailed assessment.
The council will now make a decision on the future of any council-owned building that is deemed earthquake-prone, following detailed assessments, on a case-by-case basis.
Infrastructure portfolio holder councillor Eric Davy said this would allow time to consider issues presented by council officers relating to each individual building, such as lease arrangements, the Section 124 notice and its conditions, the costs of strengthening and tenant feedback.
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