Waipā District Council has evacuated the Te Awamutu Museum and an adjacent staff building following a seismic assessment, it said in a media release today.
Chief executive Garry Dyet made the evacuation call today, following a report which shows the building is at 20 per cent of National Building Standard, with a Grade D building rating. In the event of an earthquake, Grade D buildings represent a risk to occupants between 10 -25 times that expected for a new building.
Dyet said the seismic risk issues were discovered when council was looking at doing some work to replace the roof and windows.
“The issue was identified then and on the basis of health and safety, I made the call to evacuate the building; I was simply not prepared to put any staff member or any member of the public at risk.”
Around 78 staff across the council’s service delivery and community services team work in the building, but not all at the same time.
“Our staff are used to being very agile – Covid made sure of that,” Dyet said. “We will be able to house staff elsewhere and some will work from home for a short time while we work this through. Except for museum staff, I don’t think it will cause too much disruption.”
Dyet said the museum would be closed until further notice.
“Right now, our priority is working alongside mana whenua, the Office of Kingi Tuheitia and the Te Awamutu Museum Trust Board to ensure all the taonga in the museum are taken care of. Along with staff, that is my absolute priority and we will work through this carefully and meticulously.”
“It is inconvenient and disappointing. But our focus now is working through the next steps to see what kind of remedial work is required.”
Council’s main building across the road in Roche St in Te Awamutu is not impacted and is open as usual.