7 Dec 2011

Blenheim clock tower possible quake risk

11:13 am on 7 December 2011

A civic clock tower in Blenheim is to be cordoned off because of concerns it is an earthquake risk.

A magnitude 5.7 earthquake at 7.19pm on Saturday caused no obvious damage the 16 metre, stone and masonry structure, but Marlborough District Council is taking no chances until a full engineeering assessment is carried out.

Mayor Alistair Sowman says people will be kept from the tower and council staff won't be making a twice-weekly climb to wind the clock.

After an engineering report, he says the council will consider possible strengthening of the tower, along with other Blenheim buildings considered a high earthquake risk.

The tower was built 83 years ago.