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Carterton craft shop carnage

A quick stop for a coffee and a bite to eat has caused chaos on Carterton’s main drag.

Part of the High St section of State Highway 2 [SH2] was closed shortly before 6am yesterday after the collapse of Carterton Craft Market’s veranda.

The destruction was due to a truck driver unintentionally hooking the veranda with his trailer’s bolster as he pulled back onto SH2 after a pit-stop at the cafe opposite.

Cafe staff reported hearing a “bang” as the entire structure was dragged to the ground.

Emergency services responded to the incident at 5.53am, closing the section of High St between Broadway and Pembroke St, and establishing a cordon around the shop frontage.

Waka Kotahi NZTA’s update at 2.20pm said clean up at the “crash site” was expected to continue into peak hour traffic times, with the road remaining closed and diversions in place.

It said the road reopened at 5.50pm.

While it was a no-injury incident, the damage to the Craft Market was significant, with coordinator Desley Rekke pleading for at least 48 hours to figure out the market’s next move.

“It’s a portal for people – there are 35 different crafters in there.

“They came in en masse before and stripped the shop. Everything’s been packed up.” Rekke said while the early morning call from the fire brigade was a bit of a shock, the tenant above the market was the one who had the rude awakening.

“He got an early morning wake-up call, but he’s okay, the truck driver’s okay, no one was underneath, it wasn’t nine o’clock. And that’s all that matters.

“No one was hurt. And that’s what I said to the young driver. He was really in shock.”

Rekke said she held no ill will toward the truck driver for what she regarded as a freak accident.

She said the glass frontage was currently hanging on by a nail, and a timeframe to have it up and running again was unknown.

“It won’t be an overnight fix. But the outreach and support from locals and customers has been humbling and heart-warming.”

Carterton District Council [CDC] building inspectors and a structural engineer were on site early to inspect the damage and establish if the building was at risk of further collapse, noting the building had undergone earthquake strengthening in 2014.

Concerns about possible asbestos material were also raised, with CDC planning and regulatory services manager Solitaire Robertson confirming the council erred on the side of caution, opting to engage specialist removalists to clear the debris. The building assessment noted the front facade and first-floor wall studs had peeled away from the floor.

“There is risk of this moving further and recommend that this is secured back to the rest of the building as soon as possible.”

It said access to the front area of the building, including the footpath and car parks in front, should be restricted until the facade was adequately secured.

Robertson said although council records cannot confirm the building was established in 1884, as the shop frontage indicates, the building does fall within the Carterton Character Area.

This could determine whether a resource consent is required for possible repair or demolition, she said – a timeframe for which is at the owner’s discretion.

Mary Argue
Mary Argue
Mary Argue is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age with an interest in justice and the region’s emergency services, regularly covering Masterton District Court, Fire and Emergency and Police.

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