Home' Northern Outlook : March 23rd 2013 Contents 7
NORTHERN OUTLOOK, MARCH 23, 2013
Why do the fences still need to be there? Why doesn t the Council get rid
of them? If they have to stay until the building is demolished or fixed,
why doesn t the Council force building owners and/or insurers to get on
with it? These are the concerns that are worrying a number of people.
The fences have been recommended by the building owners and
the Council s qualified structural engineers because they believe the
buildings, or part of the building, could collapse in a small or moderate
earthquake. Some people don t think we will get any more significant
a ershocks. However, GNS think differently -- for example, they think
there is still a 65% probability of having a 5.0 - 5.4 a ershock in the
next 12 months, a 75% probability of having a 5.5 - 5.9 a ershock in
the next five years, and a one-in-three chance of 6.0 -- 6.4 quake.
Further, for two of the buildings demolished in High Street (Lamberts and
Pulleys), it was confirmed that their large front facades were not attached
to the side walls -- it means we re lucky they hadn t collapsed already!
The Council has a duty to protect the public -- we consider the fences
need to remain until these safety issues are addressed.
Like everyone, we want to see insurance issues settled promptly.
However, neither the Council nor CERA has the ability to force
agreement -- it s a commercial contract between a building owner
and an insurer, over which we have no powers. Even the Minister for
Earthquake Recovery can t intervene to force building owners and
insurers to settle.
Sometimes the issues are complex -- the Farmers building is a case in
point. The building owner s engineers have assessed the building as
beyond economic repair, but the insurer s engineers disagree -- they
think there is little earthquake damage. Until there is an acceptable
resolution it s difficult to make progress and the likelihood is that it is
still going to take months to resolve. Farmers say they are very keen to
return to Rangiora, which is great. We all understand the importance
of Farmers to other businesses and the community and want to see
them back as quickly as possible. A further reality is that once an
insurance settlement is reached it is likely to be between 12 and 24
months before business can reopen on the current site. The Council is
doing, and will do, all it can to assist and speed up the process.
It is encouraging to see you supporting the hard working and
dedicated businesses that remain in the High Street. For the town
centre to remain vibrant and a good place to be, supporting our local
businesses is the best thing our wider community can do to help
make a difference.
While we are waiting for insurance issues to be resolved, it s important
we think about the future possibilities. The District is growing at
an unprecedented rate -- residential development is occurring at
double the historic norm, and considerable commercial development
is underway across the District. In the High Street, west of the Red
Lion corner, significant redevelopment has yet to occur. Looking at
what has happened in Kaiapoi, which is about 6-12 months ahead
of Rangiora in its rebuild, we know it takes a while for progress to be
seen. In Kaiapoi we are now seeing that progress happen with major
rebuilds underway or planning very well advanced. This is encouraging
and signals what will happen in Rangiora s High Street.
The Council has met with a group of building owners of properties on
the north side of High Street on five occasions to see if they want to
work together on a more comprehensive development. Due to different
expectations and aspirations and some still not having sorted out
their insurance and engineering issues, that has not yet translated into
the co-ordinated approach that the Council is encouraging.
A number of investors and developers have expressed interest in the
idea and the Council, if required, is keen to facilitate discussions to
advance new development opportunities. There is considerable potential
north of High Street for further development to occur and we are
strongly encouraging that. We need to attract new businesses to the
District, as well as rehousing those displaced as a result of the quakes.
The Council is keen to partner with people on development initiatives
that are consistent with the adopted Rangiora Town Centre Strategy.
The earthquakes have presented both an opportunity to strengthen
our buildings, improve public safety and also capitalise on the growth
that is occurring across the District.
The Council reaffirms its commitment to playing its part in our towns
future. While much has happened in our District since September
2010, rebuilding and revitalising the Kaiapoi town centre has been a
top priority. Since then, Rangiora town centre has joined it.
215 High Street
Phone 03 311 8900
24 Sewell Street
Phone 03 375 5009
34 Main Street
Phone 03 311 9005
Open Letter to the Community
-- Rangiora Town Centre
We are frequently asked about three issues relating to the Rangiora Town Centre
-- the fences, the Farmers and future development prospects.
The purpose of this open letter is to briefly update you on those issues.
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