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
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
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.