Ōtaki Museum assessed as an earthquake-prone building

Kāpiti Council completed an assessment of seven council-owned buildings in Kāpiti earlier this year that identified two in Ōtaki that were potentially earthquake-prone the Ōtaki Civic Theatre and Ōtaki Museum.

More detailed engineering investigations on both buildings was commissioned and an update has been released on the Ōtaki Museum we are still awaiting the outcome for the Ōtaki Civic Theatre, which is expected before the end of July.

Findings from the engineering report for the Ōtaki Museum shows it does not meet the 34 per cent required under the New Building Standard (NBS) and therefore will be assessed as an earthquake-prone building.

Community Services Acting General Manager Crispin Mylne says Council, as the building owner, has an obligation to inform stakeholders and the public as soon as there is information that could potentially relate to safety.

“Public safety is important to us and we are doing this right now. Existing notices on the building are being updated and we’re in discussions with the trust that manages the museum,” he says.

“Being assessed as earthquake-prone does not prevent the use of the building and does not mean the building shouldn’t be occupied. It does means a structural engineer has identified a risk and people have a right to know the building they are entering, or are in close proximity to, may be at risk.”

Council is helping the trustees with their options and ensuring they are aware of the risks of an earthquake-prone building, Mr Mylne says.

“Whether they decide to stay in the building or not is ultimately up to them.”

Contractually Council cannot end the lease prematurely, however it does expire in June 2017.

Mr Mylne says as Council has just embarked on a project to develop the Communities Facilities Strategy which will provide a framework to guide the Council’s decisions around involvement and investment in the district’s community facilities over the next 20 years or so there is no position on the future of the museum at this stage.

The other five buildings assessed otherwise achieved an NBS score in excess of 67 per cent.