Council affected

In addition to community-owned halls, a significant number of halls owned by the Central Otago District Council are considered to be earthquake-prone.

Fifteen of 29 sites identified by council staff to be potentially quake-prone are halls - the Cromwell, Tarras and Waipiata memorial halls; the Omakau, Ophir and Ranfurly public halls; the Patearoa, Wedderburn, Millers Flat, Poolburn/Moa Creek, Roxburgh and Lake Roxburgh halls; the Naseby Town Hall; the Ettrick Community Hall and the Alexandra Hall senior citizens' lounge.

Some comply with less than 34% of the national building code, meaning they are considered quake-prone under the council's buildings policy. Others have been rated at between 34% and 67%.

Under the policy, a building owner is only obliged to get an engineer's assessment and upgrade or strengthen their building if they want to make significant alterations or change the use, requiring a building consent. The council has chosen to get assessments for its own buildings.

Under a proposed national policy, an amendment to the Building Act, local authorities would be required to get seismic capacity assessments on all non-residential and multi-unit, multi-storey residential buildings within five years of the policy taking effect.

Quake-prone buildings would have to be strengthened or demolished within 15 years.

Councillors last month decided all council-owned buildings should be strengthened to the level indicated in the proposed Earthquake Prone Buildings Bill, which council property and facilities manager Mike Kerr said would probably be 34%.

The Omakau, Wedderburn, Cromwell, Tarras, Patearoa, Naseby halls and the Alexandra hall senior citizens' lounge are rated at 34% or lower. Together they could cost an estimated $458,300 to bring up to 34% compliance.

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