Council rues its role in CTV tragedy

MARC GREENHILL
Last updated 05:00 12/12/2012
Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker
Iain McGregor

BOB PARKER: 'If we need to stand up, be accountable in areas where we can be, then so we should.'

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The Christchurch City Council is ready to face the consequences and Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker has apologised for its role in signing off the Canterbury Television (CTV) building.

A royal commission report released on Monday found that the six-storey building, which collapsed in the February 2011 earthquake, killing 115 people, should not have been granted a building permit by the council.

Parker yesterday apologised for council's "shortcomings" in 1986.

"It is clear, based on the evidence we have seen, there were shortcomings in those processes, but they were also one part of a very complex process that involved a number of other parties," he said.

"Naturally, everybody here is truly sorry. Albeit it's in a historic context, but it doesn't lessen the pain for us at this time."

Building and Construction Minister Maurice Williamson said yesterday 115 lives could not be lost and "somebody not be held to account".

Parker said he "absolutely agreed", even if the spotlight was shone on the council.

"If we need to stand up, be accountable in areas where we can be, then so we should," he said.

"Should there be any consequences of that, then so be it.

"That is what needs to be done in this case. We're all united on that."

He noted his staff had apologised at the commission's hearings earlier this year.

Parker also said the council's consent processes had improved in the past 26 years and were "completely different".

"We accept that the council of the time and the processes that it had in place were inadequate, or proved inadequate in this case, to ensure the appropriate checks and balances that were required were in place," he said.

"This organisation some years ago put in place systems that supersede that."

Council resource consents and building policy manager Steve McCarthy said multi-storey designs were now fully reviewed and peer-reviewed before consents were issued.

A national review of buildings with design structures similar to CTV was under way. Six Christchurch buildings, all unoccupied, had been reviewed.

"We've alerted the owners to the issue and prior to occupation they will be providing us with information to make sure those buildings are safe," he said.

Alan Reay-designed buildings had been reviewed by the council but they were not being specifically targeted, McCarthy said.

Reay is the principal of the firm that designed the CTV building.

"Where we've identified or suspect problems, we've investigated those in line with what the Government has directed us to do, but we won't be particularly picking on Alan Reay's buildings."

Many had been demolished, including Landsborough House in Durham St, McCarthy said.

Reay's work included "six or seven" multi-level buildings built between 1980 and 1990.

Council legal representative Kelvin Reid said any legal issues would be dealt with as they arose.

"If there is legal action taken, the council will need to consider what that is and respond to it accordingly," he said.

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