Boniface: Why no test on quake-risk centre?

LOUISE BERWICK
Last updated 05:00 04/12/2013

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The Invercargill City Council "sunk" $700,000 into the Bluff Service Centre seven years ago, only to be booted out last month.

The council had to move out of its Gore St premises after the building failed to meet 10 per cent of the building code and posed an earthquake risk.

But councillor Neil Boniface, speaking at this week's works and infrastructure meeting, questioned why the building's structural strength had not been assessed when the council first purchased it seven years ago.

"We have sunk $700,000 into that building and I would have thought probably we should have done a report on that building then."

Council assets manager Paul Horner said that, at the time of purchase, the code was not the same and the Gore St building met the requirements.

However, since the Christchurch earthquakes, building standards had changed and become more stringent.

That required the council to have the building earthquake assessed, and the review showed it did not meet the minimum required 33 per cent of the building code, he said.

The committee voted unanimously to investigate two possible options for a new centre.

The first option was to repair the existing building to bring it up to 67 per cent of the building code, he said, which would cost between $150,000 and $200,000.

The second was to demolish and rebuild.

While councillors had five options to consider, Horner said that, by starting on the first two, they would have a better understanding of the cost they were looking at.

Horner said he would not be taking into account the next-door properties, one of which is the Bluff Club Hotel.

However, at the finance and policy committee meeting held last night, council chief executive Richard King implied there was concern about the hotel.

"We have got to look at all the options and what is beside the centre and what might fall on it."

Meanwhile, the centre - which was relocated to the municipal chambers on the same street last month - will be closed tomorrow because of planned power outages in the town.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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