Hutt City Council has issued a warrant today that requires the Event Cinemas and car park building in the northeastern corner of Queensgate Shopping Centre be demolished.

The decision comes after Council issued a warrant late yesterday (24 November) under section 129 of the Building Act 2004. The warrant required action to be taken to remove the danger posed by the building after it was damaged in the 14 November 7.8 earthquake.

Queensgate had offered two options for the future of the building, which is one of 13 buildings in the shopping centre. The first option is to secure and strengthen the building, but a further investigation would be needed to assess whether it was possible. A preliminary estimate to secure and strengthen the building is that it would take at least four months.

The second option is to demolish the building. The demolition work could start immediately and take about two months.

Council has decided on option two and has today issued a second warrant under section 129 of the Building Act requiring that the building be demolished.

Queensgate will early next week supply Council with a detailed plan on how it will demolish the building, which will be approved by Council engineers. The plan must set out a time frame for when the demolition work will start and finish.

Hutt City Council Chief Executive Tony Stallinger says Council has obtained independent engineering advice which indicates there is a risk of collapse in another earthquake. “I have received advice that the option of securing and strengthening the building is not appropriate for a range of reasons, including the time and uncertainty of outcome involved in that process.”

Long reach diggers and/or mobile cranes will be used to demolish the building. The demolition must include all necessary and related health and safety measures, including traffic management, disconnection of services and removal of material.
Because of the height of the affected building, there is a safety risk for two neighbouring buildings, the New World Hutt City supermarket and the restaurant, bar and conference area of The Angus Inn hotel. The supermarket and part of The Angus Inn were evacuated last night when Council issued the first warrant, which remains in place.

Once demolition of the building begins, the risk to the two buildings will be reduced and cordon sizes will be reviewed.

More than 80 retail outlets in Queensgate Shopping Centre reopened today, as well as 590 car park spaces. This area of the complex has been assessed by engineers and is structurally sound. Council granted a Certificate of Public Use.

Some retail outlets near the Event Cinemas and car park building remain closed.

Released: 25 November 2016