Have your say on priority routes and thoroughfares

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6/05/2019 12:00:00 p.m.

6 May 2019

Whanganui District Council has identified areas it proposes to prioritise for the seismic assessment of buildings.

Whanganui District Council’s Building Control Manager, Greg Hoobin says, “The aim is to improve public safety and keep emergency routes open in the event of an earthquake.”

He says, “Under the Earthquake-Prone Building legislation introduced in 2017, councils are required to consult the public when determining the location of priority areas.”

Over the next eight weeks the Council is seeking feedback from the community on which roads and footpaths should be included.

Once the priority areas have been finalised, Mr Hoobin says, “All buildings within those areas will be assessed using the national Earthquake-Prone Building (EPB) methodology to evaluate which of them are ‘priority buildings’ under the Building Act.

“Priority buildings are those that could fall onto a high vehicle or foot traffic area or impede strategic transport routes in a moderate earthquake.”

The Council has until 1 July 2022 to identify earthquake-prone priority buildings. The deadline to identify other earthquake-prone buildings is 1 July 2027.

To identify our priority areas, Mr Hoobin says the Council has looked at where “priority thoroughfares” and “priority routes” are in our city.

“A priority thoroughfare is an area with a high volume of vehicle or foot traffic and a priority route is an area where emergency vehicles would need to travel in the event of an earthquake.”

The areas identified by the Council include:

  • 1-200/200B Victoria Avenue
  • 61-100 Guyton Street
  • 1-30 Maria Place
  • 34-70 Ridgway Street
  • 2-68 Taupō Quay
  • 15-39 Putiki Drive

In a medium seismic zone like Whanganui, priority building owners have up to 12.5 years to complete earthquake-strengthening (from the date of an earthquake-prone building notice being issued) and other earthquake-prone building owners have up to 25 years.

Mr Hoobin says, “Under this legislation just part of a building can be identified as a priority building. Some buildings will need only the frontage of the building strengthened within 12.5 years, but then they will have up to a total of 25 years to strengthen the back part of the building.

“The Council will work one-on-one with building owners to give them specific advice on the measures required to strengthen their particular building.”

Whanganui District Council Policy Analyst, Justin Walters, says the purpose of this work is to “make our city more resilient in an earthquake by prioritising the strengthening of buildings or parts of buildings that present the greatest risk to pedestrians and ensuring routes are kept clear for emergency vehicles.”

Whanganui District Councillor Helen Craig says some owners of heritage buildings may be able to access funds for earthquake strengthening through central government’s Heritage EQUIP fund. Building owners can potentially access 67% of seismic strengthening costs, up to a maximum of $400,000. More information about central government’s Heritage EQUIP fund is available on this website: https://heritageequip.govt.nz/

The Proposed Priority Thoroughfares and Routes consultation begins on Monday, 6 May 2019, and ends at 5.00pm on Friday, 28 June 2019.

An information evening for building owners will be held on Monday, 27 May from 5.30pm-7.30pm at the Whanganui War Memorial Centre.

To view consultation information and to submit feedback online, go to www.whanganui.govt.nz/haveyoursay or email your thoughts to policysubmissions@Whanganui.govt.nz

Hard copies of the proposed plan and submission forms can be picked up from Whanganui District Council at 101 Guyton Street, Davis Central City Library or Gonville Café Library. Hard copy feedback can be submitted to the Council at 101 Guyton Street. Please indicate whether you would like to speak to your submission and include contact details.

Submissions close at 5.00pm on Friday, 28 June 2019.

If you have any queries please contact Justin Walters, Policy Analyst, on 06 349 0001.

Below: A map of the proposed priority thoroughfares

Page reviewed: 06 May 2019 12:00pm