City earthquake cordon update
The Christchurch City Council continues to work with building owners in an effort to clear city streets of earthquake cordons.
Progress has been made this week in various areas of the city. There were 92 cordons in place at the start of December in the Central City and Sydenham. As of this week, five have been completely removed, 15 reduced in size and Madras and Lichfield Street have reopened to two-way traffic. There have been 239 buildings that have gone from red/yellow placards to the buildings being able to operate again.
Sydenham and Beckenham
Demolition has commenced on four buildings on Colombo Street in Sydenham, in addition to two already completed. As work progresses cordons will be further reduced. Further along Colombo Street, in Beckenham, building owners have progressed discussions with insurers and are now working together on a programme for repair and removal of damaged buildings. The Council is assisting building owners through this process.
Manchester Street demolition
The seventh floor of the building has been removed and external columns and windows gone from the sixth floor. Work has started on the demolition of the fifth floor. Council staff met with the owner of 160 Manchester Street this week to get an update on demolition progress and discuss ways the work might be expedited. The owner advises that major progress will be achieved in the next week. Under current conditions, the building owner has indicated that one lane of Manchester Street will be open to traffic by mid-January.
Building Act enforcement
Where building owners have not progressed repairs or removals, the Council this week began issuing notices under section 124 of the Building Act to require action within five working days. After that time, the Council can itself carry out the work necessary to make the building safe, then place a charge against the building title. Five notices have been issued in relation to two buildings in the Sydenham area and others will be served in coming weeks.
Council Inspections and Enforcement Unit Manager Gary Lennan says earthquake cordons are needed to ensure public safety around earthquake damaged buildings, however their presence is also affecting traffic movement and access to adjacent businesses. It is the responsibility of the building owner to repair the damage to their building or have it demolished.
“The fences and barriers can not be removed until it is safe to do so. However, the Council is very aware that reducing the cordons and providing for better safety on the street will make it easier for vehicles to travel around the city and also assist surrounding businesses with their recovery and reduce the economic hardship they may be facing.
“Many building owners are working with their insurers and making good progress in rebuilding or removing damaged buildings. Using the Building Act to require work to be carried out will help the entire city get back to business as usual.
“Where we are able to contact them, the Council has been working closely with individual commercial property owners who have suffered damage as a result of the earthquake. Through the Building Recovery Office, we have implemented streamlined consent and inspection processes to help in the rebuilding of damaged properties and we’re offering free advice and assistance to building owners,” he says.