News | 10 January 2019
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Courtenay Central – update from Wellington City Council

Wellington City Council senior staff have been kept informed over the past few days by representatives of Reading New Zealand about Reading’s decision to close the Courtenay Central site last weekend.

Staff have also briefed the Mayor and Councillors about the situation. The issues with the third floor are not a result of damage from the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake.

The Council’s Business Engagement Manager, Phil Becker, says Reading’s engineers have identified several discrete areas on the cinema levels of the building that may perform at an unacceptable level during a major earthquake.

Following the receipt of the draft engineering report, the Company instructed their engineers to conduct further investigations to refine and better understand their preliminary engineering assessments. Those further investigations are currently underway. Reading consequently closed the building as a precautionary measure to facilitate these detailed investigations.

As the areas of concern are contained wholly within the building, engineers have confirmed that there is no increased risk to neighbouring properties or people in Courtenay Place.

Mr Becker says the Council fully understands and appreciates Reading’s position and the Company’s priority is the safety and wellbeing of its patrons, employees and tenants. The Company will continue to provide information to Courtenay Central tenants and their staff.

Mr Becker added that “we are very comfortable with Reading’s responsible approach to this situation. The Company has kept the City Council informed about its ongoing engineering investigations – and we appreciate the Company and its consultants are working as quickly as possible to both get a better understanding of and reach important decisions relating to the building.”

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester says Reading Cinemas have done the right thing in putting occupant safety first and closing the complex once they became aware of the engineers’ findings.

“I am happy there are no risks to pedestrians on Courtenay Place. Hopefully a satisfactory engineering solution can be found quickly and the cinema can be reopened.”