Letter: Open despite safety risk

Last updated 11:27 13/02/2014

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OPINION: The council was quick to close down Anderson Park Art Gallery due to fears for public safety.

Yet the Southland Museum and Art Gallery failed to met the building codes required and is still open to the public.

So does that mean that public safety is not as important?

Liability rests with the owners of the building as they are aware of the risk and have allowed the building to remain open to the public.

Should an earthquake hit there might be many visitors present.

I feel money is the reason. It can't be public safety.

CHARMAINE CULLEN
Invercargill

Invercargill City Council manager, building assets and museum, Paul Horner, replies: The Invercargill City Council is concerned about the safety of its staff and visitors and has considered the risks of each building and has made appropriate decisions for their use while further investigations are undertaken.

We have also considered the media release of Workplace NZ for the Health and Safety in Employment Act relating to earthquake- prone buildings and the council's own policy on earthquake-prone buildings for Building Act compliance.

Evaluation of the museum buildings shows they are at the high end of the earthquake-prone range and we are investigating short- term measures which will help to isolate and reduce risks, where possible, that will ensure safety.

In the long term, the Southland Museum and Art Gallery Trust, as owners, and the city council, as operators of the museum, will incorporate seismic improvements into the planned redevelopment project for the museum.

The Anderson Park building is at the low end of the earthquake- prone range and it was considered appropriate to close the building until further investigation of the seismic weaknesses could be carried out and an estimate made for the cost of repairs.

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- The Southland Times

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