Six prominent South Taranaki quake prone buildings shut for shore-up

South Taranaki District Council engineering services group manager Brent Manning at the Hawera Water Tower grounds.
Petra Finer

South Taranaki District Council engineering services group manager Brent Manning at the Hawera Water Tower grounds.

Six prominent South Taranaki buildings are about to get a shake up as earthquake strengthening work is carried out.

The council-run Hawera Water Tower, Hawera Memorial Theatre and Hall, Eltham Town Hall, Manaia Town Hall and Patea's Hunter Shaw Building have all been temporarily closed and classified as earthquake prone after structural engineering reports placed them at less than 34 per cent of the New Building Standard (NBS).

The South Taranaki District Council (STDC) has allocated $3 million over the next 10 years to upgrade any of its facilities that do not make the NBS grade.

STDC engineering services group manager Brent Manning said he expected work to be completed on the Hawera Water Tower, Hawera Memorial Theatre and Hall and the Eltham Town Hall reasonably soon.

The water tower itself was safe but eight balustrades on the structure needed strengthening.

"It's a relatively minor fix and cost compared to what it could have been if the tower itself was found wanting," he said.

As the tower was a considered a category one heritage building under Historic Places Trust classification, Manning believed the process would take slightly longer but should be finished within the next few months.

"I have no idea of that cost but I expect it to be possibly less than the cost of all the investigations we've done to date but nonetheless, at least we know the answers now."

The Eltham Town Hall was found to meet only 20 per cent of the NBS.

Thirty STDC properties including the main administration building, libraries and Hawera i-Site had all been assessed and most were declared safe.

"On all the other buildings, which are mainly halls, we're getting preliminary work done to determine what sort of costs are involved and what the likely fix is going to be."

Council would not take any risk when it came to public safety, Manning said.

"Everyone has been very understanding of the situation and appreciates the need for public safety."

South Taranaki district Mayor, Ross Dunlop said he was committed to getting the Eltham Town Hall strengthened and reopened as soon as possible.

"The Town Hall is an iconic South Taranaki building and the community has done a heck of a lot of work over the years to help preserve it."

 

 - Stuff

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