PHOTO: CHRISTCHURCH CITY COUNCIL
Since Christchurch in 2011, Wellington has been shaken by three big quakes, the most recent being the Kaikoura quake in November 2016. It’s important to remember they were all South Island quakes – the closest epicentre was about 80km away from Wellington. In other words they were by no means ‘direct hits’ – which was the case in Christchurch.
Regardless, they did a lot of damage in the Capital City – one modern building partially collapsed. It was one of at least 10 big commercial buildings that had to be demolished or still remain unusable. Many others were badly damaged but have since been repaired and strengthened.
We have learnt a lot about our city and what’s beneath it. Scientists continue to learn and planners, engineers and decision makers are keeping close to this work and what it might mean for Wellington.
On the positive side, over the past two decades hundreds of buildings around the city have been removed from the list of earthquake-prone buildings, and owners continue to strengthen their buildings as required by the legislation. Millions of dollars are also being spent by the City Council to strengthen the likes of the Town Hall, St James Theatre, the Central Library, and our social-housing complexes.
The Council, along with the likes of Waka Kotahi/NZTA and KiwiRail, has also poured money into strengthening roads, retaining walls, tunnels and bridges, and Wellington Electricity worked with the Government to build seismic resilience into its work programme and pricing. CentrePort has spent millions repairing and upgrading the container terminal and other damaged sections of the waterfront.