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Earthquake briefings for Wellingtonians

NEWS RELEASE

16 August 2012

Earthquake briefings for Wellingtonians

A series of community earthquake briefings being held across the city will get under way at Johnsonville on Thursday 23 August.

Media are invited to a briefing which will explain more about the meetings on Monday 20 August from
1–2pm. For more information about the media briefing, refer to the end of this release.


The community briefings are being hosted by Wellington City Council and GNS Science, with support from the Wellington Regional Emergency Management Office (WREMO).

The briefings are designed to provide an overview of what has already been done to make the city better prepared for an earthquake, including the work planned to improve the resilience of city infrastructure and communities. Information will also be provided to residents to help them make sure they are ready for an earthquake.

GNS scientists will talk about earthquake risk to the city, what has been learnt from previous earthquakes in the region and what they are leaning from the Canterbury earthquake sequence and the Wellington ‘It's Our Fault’ project.

The GNS Programme Leader for ‘It’s our Fault,’ Russ Van Dissen, says, “the project, which began in 2006 as a joint initiative between GNS, Wellington City Council and Greater Wellington Regional Council, WREMO, ACC and Natural Hazards Research Platform, has provided more robust information about Wellington fault lines.


"We are really looking forward to partnering with Wellington City Council on this series of briefings and, ultimately, the people of Wellington, so we can work together to strengthen our communities," he says.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says Wellingtonians have long understood that the city could experience a major earthquake and the Council has been proactively working to make the city safer.

Between 1968 and 2003, around 500 older masonry buildings were strengthened or demolished in the city. Wellington buildings also have to be constructed to be more resilient to earthquakes than buildings in Auckland or Christchurch because standards are based on seismic zones.

Work has also been undertaken to strengthen the city’s roads and water network over the past 15 years.

The Mayor says understanding of earthquake risk has enabled the city to take action to make Wellington safer.

“All Wellingtonians should attend a briefing if possible. It is only once we understand the risk earthquakes pose and the impact they would have – at a city, community and individual level – that we can ensure we are ready to respond and recover as a city and in our communities.”

The Council plans to invest $80 million strengthening the city’s buildings, roads, seawalls, bridges and water network over the next decade. The Town Hall will be closed for two years from July 2013 for strengthening.

Councillor Iona Pannett, Portfolio Leader for the Built Environment, says assessments have been completed on over 70 percent of the commercial and apartment complexes in the city that require assessment under the Council’s Earthquake Prone Buildings Policy.

“We’ve increased the amount of funding allocated to complete building safety assessments so that by 2015 all buildings in the city that need to be looked at will have been assessed.”

By 2025 all high priority buildings requiring strengthening will have been strengthened or demolished.

The first community earthquake briefings will be held at:

· Johnsonville – 7.30pm, Thursday 23 August (Johnsonville Community Centre, 3 Frankmoore Avenue)

· Newtown – 7.30pm, Thursday 30 August (St Anne’s Parish Hall, 22 Emmett Street)

· Thorndon – 7pm, Wednesday 5 September (Kingsgate Hotel, 24 Hawkestone Street)

· Vogeltown, 7.45pm, Wednesday 12 September (Vogelmorn Hall, 11 Vennell Street)

· Island Bay – 7.30pm, Tuesday 18 September (Island Bay School Hall, Thames Street)

· Mount Victoria – 7.30pm, Thursday 27 September (The New Crossways Community Centre, 6 Roxburgh Street).

Additional community briefings will be scheduled. Stakeholder briefings are also being organised over the coming months. The first stakeholder briefing for members of body corporate organisations will be held on:

· Tuesday 11 September, 7pm, Ilott Theatre, Wellington Town Hall, Wakefield Street


All briefings are free. To register to attend a session, visit Wellington.govt.nz/earthquake or phone 499 4444.
ends

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