Decision on closing buildings

Maniototo Park Stadium is one of six buildings in the ward that will undergo a detailed seismic...
Maniototo Park Stadium is one of six buildings in the ward that will undergo a detailed seismic assessment and estimate of costs for strengthening. PHOTO: SIMON HENDERSON
Control over who can close earthquake-prone buildings was a key issue at the first meeting of the Maniototo Community Board after the local elections.

The Central Otago District Council has been asking community boards to agree that discretion to decide to close a council-owned earthquake-prone building would sit with the council as part of a district-wide risk management policy.

Board member Stuart Duncan said closing buildings could have ‘‘quite dire effects’’ in a small community, and questioned whether local communities no longer had a say if the decision sat with the council.

‘‘It wasn’t that long ago we had a fight to keep our library open,’’ he said, referring to an issue in 2015 when discussions about relocating the community library from Maniototo Area School to the Ranfurly Service Centre came up against local opposition.

Mayor Tim Cadogan said it might cause ‘‘mass confusion’’ if one board closed a building and another did not, which was why they were hoping for a consistent approach across the district.

Mr Duncan said the board had to ‘‘look after the wee guy’’.

An amendment was agreed between the council and the board, which would allow the council to close an earthquake-prone building provided the decision was made with input from the relevant community board.

The board also agreed to allow up to $60,000 for detailed seismic assessments plus cost estimates for strengthening six buildings — Naseby Town Hall, Naseby General Store, Maniototo Park Stadium, Patearoa Hall, Wedderburn Hall and Ranfurly Hall.

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