18 May 2015

Franz Josef hit by quake plan

8:26 pm on 18 May 2015

An earthquake plan for Franz Josef raises serious concerns about the town's future, businesses in the West Coast tourism village say.

Sunrise from Franz Josef Glacier.

Sunrise from Franz Josef Glacier. Photo: AFP

The community made submissions in March to independent commissioners on a Westland District Council proposed plan change, which includes avoiding a fault rupture zone running through the 440-resident town.

The commissioners have decided the town should adopt the zone, which is up to 200 metres wide.

Businesses in the zone can keep operating but will not be able expand.

Local supermarket owner Mark Williams said if it was truly dangerous they should not be able to stay working there.

Nobody would be saved in an earthquake, and it was just a bandaid over a chainsaw cut.

He also said the decision would deter people from investing in the village, which survives on tourism.

Mr Williams said the Franz Josef community would get together to decide what action to take against the decision.

Head of Franz Incorporated Craig Rankin said he welcomed the commissioners' suggestion of financial assistance for businesses that would have to move.

But he said that could cost between $20 million and $30 million and central government would have to step in to help.

Mr Rankin said the association also wanted a plan to ensure the space was not left derelict if businesses and homes leave the zone.

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