By Chelsea Boyle
A new Carterton group is hoping to help earthquake prone buildings in the central business district get much-needed earthquake assessments.
Bruce Robertson, Barbara Durbin, Rob Hammond, Steve Laurence and Dave Gittings have filled the seats of the group known as the Carterton Earthquake Prone Building Action Group.
Mr Robertson, the chairman, said they were yet to fully know the scale of the problem.
“We know there are a significant number of buildings, probably in excess of 100, in Carterton which will need to be assessed. Now some of those will be absolutely fine, and there will be no further action required, but they are all going to have to be assessed.”
There will be a range of outcomes, he added.
Some would be unaffected, some would need repairs and others would face more costly repairs which “might not be justified from an economic perspective”.
A big concern is the buildings that are in the worst shape.
“We certainly don’t want to see buildings that are red-stickered vacant, and the owner really can’t afford to do anything with them,” Mr Robertson said.
“So in that area we are keen to work with the various building owners to see whether there is a cooperative way to take things forward and preserve some value for the building owner while leaving Carterton looking great.”
Mr Robertson said they were yet to know how much the assessments would cost.
The first step was to survey all building owners within the next 10 days, find out where everybody was at and whether they were willing to work together, he said.
He hoped landowners would be cooperative.
“This is something they are going to have to do under law, if we can facilitate making it cheaper and then assisting with more cost-effective outcomes, then that seems to make a lot of sense.
“The reality is they are all facing a similar problem.
“They are all going to need to find a result and if working together means that something can happen when it otherwise wouldn’t, something which will be cheaper than going alone, then I’m sure that the building owners are going to come to pragmatic commercial decisions.”
Mr Gittings who is also Carterton District Council’s planning and regulatory manager said the council was supportive of the move, but certainly not leading it.
He added that all the council buildings had been assessed, strengthened or were currently undergoing strengthening.
In the case of the clock tower they had secured the necessary consents to start strengthening but would need to go to open tender before that work could take place.
As a group member of the new action group he encouraged landowners to start talking about the issue.
“There may be solutions nobody has thought of yet.”