A realism check

There are some disconcerting aspects regarding this planned monstrosity. At present, we are in 'earthquake strengthening' mode, with future earthquakes on the scale of the swarm which devastated Christchurch now a possibility, given the proximity of the Akatore fault, and previously under-played faults on the Taieri and Strath Taieri, by my understanding.

One common factor shared amongst many of the buildings which have had to be demolished in Christchurch is that of excessive height. Plainly, overly high buildings do not fare well in earthquakes, particularly those in which sideways displacement, (sometimes by several metres), instead of a vertical rolling motion, causes severe damage.

So, it would seem a ridiculous anomaly, that while earthquake strengthening at massive expense is required of owners of buildings of up to four storeys, we would even contemplate, much less take seriously, a proposal to allow 27 storeys to be built on a narrow footprint, on land which has much in common with the consistency of 'Weetbix' and only a few feet above the high-tide mark, with the harbour basin almost alongside.

So, the 'wind-shadow' effect ceases to be the major consideration, in the face of the devastation which would be caused if 27 storeys were to be allowed to collapse, say landwards, filling a large area, (at least to the main street), with shards of lethal flying glass and mangled steel framing dropped from such a great height.

Dunedin was spared the precedent of the CTV building, but the possibilities of devastation on a scale which would make that event look like a Sunday school picnic by comparison would be very real for anyone living within the affected area.

My point is, we have the capacity to avoid such an event, a fence at the top of the cliff, rather than an ambulance at the bottom. I have no doubt that those who perished in the CTV building collapse, and those close to them, would have welcomed that measure of prevention, rather than a belated 'cure'.

And, before you take up your pen to point out to me that the new hotel will be designed and built by 'experts'; just ruminate that it was 'experts' (supposedly) who designed the CTV building too.