23 Jun 2011

Council cracks down on capital buildings at risk

6:29 pm on 23 June 2011

Wellington City Council has begun its long expected crackdown on buildings deemed to be an earthquake risk.

The council has red-stickered two properties and ordered two others to be demolished. Another 11 properties are under threat, and the status of a further seven is pending.

It is targeting mainly older buildings in the wake of the devastating quakes in Christchurch.

The owner of Ernesto's cafe in Cuba Street, Mike Marsland, says he is waiting to hear whether he may have to move.

Mr Marsland says he received a letter from the council advising that he had four months to sort things out with a builder. He says if the worst came to the worst, he would relocate.

Councillor Iona Pannett says the crackdown is necessary.

"From a public safety point of view, it's critical that they are strengthened. We as a council cannot be negligent in our duty to protect life if there is a major emergency."

Ms Pannett says the cost to property owners could be significant but says the council will be working with central Government to determine whether they could be eligible for funding.

She says it is likely businesses will start to refuse to occupy buildings that have not been earthquake strengthened.