QLDC: there’s no quake-prone buildings list

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Queenstown’s council says it can’t follow Dunedin’s lead and cough up a list of the town’s earthquake-prone buildings – because one doesn’t exist.

In September, the Dunedin City council released their register after a request from the Otago Daily Times – giving details of four buildings that were definitely quake-prone and another 44 which are considered likely to be.

Mountain Scene asked Queenstown’s council for their list.

However the council’s records adviser Barbara East says it doesn’t hold or maintain a register of earthquake-prone buildings “therefore your request is declined”.

She adds: “Any information provided to QLDC by building owners who may have had investigative work done on their buildings is recorded in the file for that property.

“That information is publicly available.”

Earthquake-prone is a legal definition, categorising buildings that are below a certain percentage of the current building code – which means they’re more likely to be damaged or collapse in a big quake.

Many of them are unreinforced masonry buildings – big, heavy, old stone buildings that aren’t supported in the same way as modern buildings.

The issue was thrust to national attention by the deadly Christchurch earthquake in 2011 and a subsequent Royal Commission investigation.

A bill to manage quake-prone buildings has passed its first reading in Parliament but there’s still bickering over what period building owners will have to strengthen their buildings.

East says QLDC has been actively involved with proposed law changes, which are before a select committee.

One suggestion is the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment keep a register of earthquake prone buildings.

david@scene.co.nz