Building Owners Air Views on Earthquake Issues

13 April 2012

Building owners in Wellington's inner city will have the opportunity at a meeting on 24 April to explain to Council the challenges they face and the support they need to earthquake strengthen their buildings.

The meeting is collaboration between the City Council and the Inner City Association and is the first of a number of meetings in coming months that the Council will organise with affected communities around the city.

Building owners will be briefed on the Council's current policy thinking, lessons learned to date from the Canterbury Earthquake Royal Commission and the new initiatives being considered as part of Councils Long-Term Plan. The meeting is also an opportunity for owners to explain to Council the issues they face, including rising insurance costs, accessing finance and strengthening heritage buildings.

The Council's Built Environment Portfolio Leader, Councillor Iona Pannett, says community engagement is essential if the Council and Government are to strike the right balance between community safety and the realities of making buildings more resilient - particularly costs.

"We want to hear first-hand from the owners of earthquake-prone buildings about the issues they are facing," says Cr Pannett.

ICA spokesman Gus Charteris says owners need reliable information on quake-strengthening issues and the meetings planned are an ideal forum for all parties to air their views and get the answers they need.

"Building owners need certainty and the Council needs to understand the implications of any policy changes on us," says Mr Charteris.

The meeting will be held on Tuesday 24 April at CQ Hotels Wellington, 223 Cuba Street, from 6.00pm - 7.30pm.

In addition to this meeting, as part of World Heritage Day, the executive officer for the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering, Win Clark, will speak about issues and solutions for strengthening unreinforced masonry at the Museum of Wellington City and Sea on Saturday 21 April, from 4.00 - 5.00pm.