News | 18 November 2016

Wellington Quakes Update #17 - Friday

As at 9am.

Keeping people safe our top priority

Ensuring public safety and keeping the Wellington central business district (CBD) open for business continue to be the main priorities today.

In considering our approach to managing the CBD, Wellington Mayor Justin Lester says we had to weigh up whether to shut parts of the CBD or keep it going, and then provide cordons around buildings that were at risk.

“The expert advice we had on the ground, which hasn’t changed, was to keep the CBD open and continue to allow those not directly affected to continue to work and go about their business. The vast majority of buildings in the central business district have fared well.”

He says three buildings are not safe to occupy in the long term – 61 Molesworth Street, the Statistics Building and the Reading car park.

There are a number of buildings requiring superficial repairs that will be able to be reoccupied once repairs are completed. These present no public safety risk.

“As private building owners undertake their full internal assessments we may well find more buildings with structural damage and we’ll manage this with the owners accordingly.

“Our paramount concern is public safety and we are taking a conservative approach to all cordons,” he says. “Please ensure you check with your body corporate, employer or building owner that your building is safe to occupy before you enter. Public spaces in the CBD are safe to access, but please respect all cordons.”

Wellington Civil Defence Controller Steve Cody says following the earthquake, to ensure public safety, a series of external building assessments within the CBD were carried out. A big team of experts continue to monitor the situation around the clock and respond to new situations as they arise.

“As building owners engage engineers to undertake full structural assessments, we learn more. So far we have discovered a small number of larger buildings where there is the potential for severe structural damage. Large cordons have been put in place around these buildings, initially by the Fire Service. These reflect our commitment to safety.

“Earthquakes are part of life here in New Zealand, and the scientists say we should continue to expect significant aftershocks. We all need to be prepared and resilient, but also strive to get back to normal where we can.”

No new cordons or closures have been put in place over night.

  • Tory Street between Courtenay Place and Wakefield Street is still closed to traffic and pedestrians.
  • Courtenay Place is open to traffic and pedestrians on both sides of the road. Cordons are in place around the Courtney Central building but you can still use the footpath outside.
  • Cordons and road closures remain in place around 61 Molesworth Street. Molesworth Street is closed between William Colenso Square and Hawkestone Street.
  • The section of Pipitea Street between Murphy Street and Moturoa Street is still closed to traffic.

For people who live in Wellington City, the Wellington Civil Defence Emergency Map has critical emergency information specific to your suburb. 

For public transport updates, check the Metlink website.

For up to date advice on highways in the Wellington region, check the NZ Transport Agency website.

For further updates follow us on Facebook or Twitter or refer to Wellington Region Emergency Management (WREMO).