300 sites designated quake risks

Letters will be going out in the next few days to the owners of about 300 Central Otago buildings identified as potentially earthquake-prone.

The Central Otago District Council has completed a desktop review of all buildings in the district, aside from single-storey residential houses, and made a register of earthquake-prone properties.

"The identification has been done purely from our computer records and files - it's not based on an inspection," council planning and environment manager Louise van der Voort said.

"We're ... recommending to those owners that they get an engineering report done on the building."

The council has a "passive" earthquake-prone building policy, which means work on upgrading and strengthening such buildings would only be triggered when resource consent was sought to alter existing buildings or change their use.

Older buildings, constructed before changes to the building code in the 1970s, were more likely to be "captured" in the register, Ms van der Voort said.

The council's own buildings make up 10% of those on the earthquake-prone register. Most of those were public halls, council property manager Mike Kerr said.

"We don't want to alarm people though - we have no great fears that the whole of those buildings will fall over or are at risk of collapsing in an earthquake."

Council buildings identified as potentially earthquake-prone represent about 20% of council-owned buildings, he said.

The council would take building usage into consideration when deciding on engineering reports.

The 99-year-old Coronation Hall in Bannockburn, owned by the council, was closed in March and will be demolished because of poor structural integrity. It will be rebuilt on the same site.

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