Talks about stone buildings planned

A public seminar to discuss earthquake risk to buildings made of Oamaru stone is being planned by the Waitaki District Council.

Buildings made of Oamaru stone are defined as unreinforced masonry. Oamaru and other centres in the district have many of the stone buildings, some dating back to the 19th century.

The council's committee of the whole discussed the issue on Tuesday, recommending the council postpone a policy review of buildings considered dangerous, insanitary or earthquake-unstable until the findings of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into building failure caused by the Christchurch earthquakes.

The council's present policy was introduced in 2006.

It would continue until a new one was approved, the council decided.

The date for the Royal Commission's final report has been pushed out to November 12.

However, policy manager Fraser Liggett believed it still prudent to wait for Government to respond to the recommendations from the inquiry before making any substantial changes to the council's policy which could affect building owners.

In the meantime, the council was working to arrange a public seminar which would address the issue of the buildings, of particular concern in Oamaru and the district. No date had yet been set.

Cr Peter Garvan said the issue was a serious one for the town and district and he supported more time to discuss the policy.

Cr Helen Stead said a seminar was needed so people could put their views and be informed on the issues surrounding buildings made of Oamaru stone.



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