Council CEO defends silence on quake risk
Hamilton City Council chief executive Barry Harris has defended his decision not to warn politicians of the potential risk posed by "CTV building syndrome".
"Rightly or wrongly, my judgment was that we did not have enough information to define the level of risk. My assessment is that there is a risk but there is not enough information to say what that risk might be."
Mr Harris was responding to questions from councillor Dave Macpherson as to why council management had not flagged any potential liability to the elected wing during yesterday's audit and risk committee meeting.
The Waikato Times on Monday reported concerns ratepayers may be liable for costly strengthening that may be needed for a Hamilton mall built similarly to Christchurch's disastrous CTV building.
Hamilton City Council staff are refusing to say whether ratepayers own any of eight buildings with the specific, potentially earthquake-prone designs.
However the Times understands there is a risk ratepayers may be liable for some of the repairs should a report on the Downtown Plaza building, on top of the city's underground car park, find any problems.
Any liability would only arise should strengthening be needed because the car park supports a substantial part of Kiwi Income Property Trust's $40 million Centreplace redevelopment.
Construction methods used in the CTV building that collapsed, killing 115 people, in the February 2011 earthquake have been identified in eight city buildings by the former department of building and housing. Those buildings are being assessed by engineers.
Mayor Julie Hardaker has asked staff for an update on the engineering assessments, any risks to council and how those are to be dealt with.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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