Letter: Building gift questioned

I note the North Invercargill Hall Society have gifted ''their'' hall to the Invercargill City Council.

The flow of misinformation around earthquake prone building continues to perpetuate. Firstly what legal requirement is Mr Pringle referring to?

I remind readers that the Building Act amendment relating to earthquake-prone buildings has yet to be passed through Parliament and even once it is enshrined in law owners will have at least 10 years to bring non-compliant buildings up to 34 per cent of new building standard. Secondly the language used in the article implies there is some ''new'' building standard (NBS).

This is a myth.

There has been no change to the building standard for buildings in Invercargill since the Christchurch earthquake.

The 34 per cent of NBS requirement simply means existing buildings will need to be strengthened a level or standard of 34 per cent to which a new building has to be constructed today, that is, the existing building code.

Thirdly why is the City Council accepting the ''gift'' of this hall?

I have highlighted in previous letters that the council has been the source of significant misinformation over the proposed earthquake prone building legislation; maybe the chickens are coming home to roost on this one.

As a ratepayer I strongly express my disapproval at the council accepting the gift of this hall and the way council has approached the whole subject of earthquake prone buildings.


Invercargill City Council chief executive Richard King replies: The North Invercargill Hall Society had its building assessed at 15 per cent of the current building standard and did not have the resources to bring the building up to 34 per cent of this standard, irrespective of any new requirements that may be introduced by the Government.

The council has accepted the gift of this hall because this was provided for in the rules of the society and it is a valuable commercial site.

I am not sure why your correspondent disapproves of the way the council has approached the subject of earthquake prone buildings, but the proposed legislation is the Government's, not ours, that we are bound to apply.

Together with all councils south of the Waitaki River,we have made submissions to the Government on the proposed legislation and what the costs and effects will be, and wherever practicable have alerted building owners and the public of these effects through media releases and newsletters.

The Southland Times