Nelson's Earthquake-prone Buildings

Proposed approach to Priority Buildings

Nelson City Council wants to make sure that our streets and public spaces are as safe as possible in an earthquake. We would like to know which streets and areas should we look at first.

This consultation is open from Monday 30 September to 4pm Monday 4 November 2019.

We want you to tell us which busy streets (people and vehicles) and important routes for emergency services might cause a problem in our city during an earthquake – either by falling debris/masonry that could injure people, or block important roads and routes. This will help us identify areas to prioritise for improvement.

The background

Nelson is in an area of medium seismic risk. This risk level has been defined as part of a national system that specifies the seismic hazard factor for each area of New Zealand ranging from ‘low’ to ‘high’. The national system ensures the way buildings are managed for future earthquakes is consistent and strikes a balance between the following:

  • protecting people from harm in an earthquake,
  • the costs of strengthening or removing buildings,
  • the impact on New Zealand’s built heritage.

Because Nelson has been defined as a ‘medium’ risk area we need to identify earthquake-prone priority buildings within five years (by 30 June 2022) and other earthquake-prone buildings within 10 years (by 30 June 2027). This is why we want your help to identify where our priority buildings are. 

Nelson’s busiest areas

We need to work out where our busiest roads, footpaths and public spaces are that may also have unreinforced masonry buildings that could drop debris/masonry in an earthquake creating a high risk to life and public safety. These areas will be designated higher priority areas.

Council is proposing that the central city inside the boundaries of Selwyn Place, Collingwood, Halifax and Rutherford Streets (see the map below) should be designated a high-traffic area because of the large number of people that are in that area each day.

eq prone buildings map

Do you agree? Do you think there are other roads, footpaths or routes that should be designated as high-traffic areas?

Important routes for emergency services when an earthquake happens

There are certain roads and routes around our city that are vital to our police, fire, ambulance and Civil Defence teams after an earthquake. It’s important these routes remain open in an emergency. We have consulted with the emergency services and the Nelson Tasman Lifelines Group to identify priority routes that have at least one building on them that, if it was to collapse, could block a priority route (see the righthand map of the proposed areas affected).

Do you think there are other roads or routes that are strategically important for an emergency response after an earthquake?

Identifying Priority Buildings

Once we have identified where our City’s busy-pedestrian and traffic areas and important routes for emergency services are, we can work out which buildings we need to identify as ‘Priority Buildings’ and address the hazard they pose.

The legislation for identifying and managing earthquake-prone buildings has changed nationally, which means there are now set timeframes to identify and upgrade buildings that are earthquake-prone.

Certain hospital, emergency and education buildings are already prioritised in the Building Act 2004 because they are likely to be needed in an emergency or are regularly occupied by more than 20 people.

Because Nelson has been defined as a ‘medium’ risk area we need to identify earthquake-prone priority buildings within five years (by 30 June 2022) and other earthquake prone buildings within 10 years (by 30 June 2027). This is why we want your help to identify the areas that we need to focus on first.

Information sessions

If you would like more information or have any questions you would like to ask, Council will be holding informal community meetings in the Council Chamber at Civic House, 110 Trafalgar Street, Nelson on the following dates:

  • 5.30pm – 6.30pm Thursday 3 October
  • 5.30pm – 6.30pm Wednesday 23 October

These sessions will include a presentation followed by an opportunity to ask questions.

Have your say

This consultation is open from Monday 30 September to 4pm Monday 4 November 2019.

You can provide feedback in a number of ways. Please ensure you indicate whether you wish to speak at the hearing. If so, please include a daytime phone number.

Special Consultative Procedure

Council adopted this proposal for consultation at its meeting on 19 September 2019.

This procedure is set out in Section 83 of the Local Government Act 2002 and we will be following this procedure by:

  • A public notice advertising this project and the consultation period will be in the Nelson Mail.
  • The review is open to submissions from Monday 30 September until 4pm Monday 4 November 2019
  • All submitters have an opportunity to be heard at a formal hearings process in February 2020.
  • All meetings where this proposal is being considered (including the hearings) will be open to the public.
  • The final decision on the revised Dangerous, Insanitary and Affected Buildings Policy will be made by the Council.

Timeline

Monday 30 September 2019 Consultation begins
4pm Monday 4 November 2019 Consultation closes
January 2019 Submitters notified of hearings process.
February 2020 Hearings panel meeting
April 2020 Council approval of updated Nelson's Earthquake-prone Buildings policy.

Further information