Firms snared in Par­nell quake-proof­ing

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By LAU­REN PRI­EST­LEY

Earth­quake strength­en­ing work threat­ens to dis­rupt the lives of Par­nell busi­ness­peo­ple for a year.

A stone build­ing at 217-221 Par­nell Rd is one of 725 prop­er­ties found to be po­ten­tially earth­quake­prone by Auck­land Coun­cil.

Kim He­las says her Pas­sion for Pa­per shop will go on­line dur­ing the strength­en­ing work and re­open in 2015.

She had to care­fully con­sider her op­tions when she heard about the up­grade but she loves the premises and wants to stay.

‘‘It’s the build­ing, with those bones, high ceil­ings, the beau­ti­ful lead­light win­dows.

‘‘It’s part of that whole feel of some­thing beau­ti­ful from a by­gone era that can still be en­joyed in this time,’’ she says.

‘‘A lot as­so­ciate shop.’’

He­las has been in busi­ness in Par­nell for 18 years. She says it was hard to shut the doors on Au­gust 3 but it will ben­e­fit the busi­ness in the long run.

‘‘When things are thrown at you, you can only sit in that limbo stage for so long un­til you turn it into a pos­i­tive.

‘‘This is af­fect­ing a lot of peo­ple. I’ve talked to peo­ple in Re­muera, in the city, of my cus­tomers

that with the

in

the same ev­ery­where, sit­u­a­tion.’’

Her land­lord Tom Web­ster says work should be­gin by the end of the month. And it’s a costly job – Web­ster is spend­ing more than $1 mil­lion to strengthen the build­ing.

He can un­der­stand why some own­ers have to aban­don older build­ings but the thought never crossed his mind.

The build­ing dates back to about 1880 and has been in his fam­ily for about 70 years, he says.

‘‘If there was no Web­sters on Par­nell Rd, it would be a sad day. I think the gen­er­a­tions in the fam­ily would come down and haunt me if I didn’t own it.’’

He was told by the coun­cil the build­ing is on its her­itage list and has to ad­here to spe­cific reg­u­la­tions, he says.

But a coun­cil spokesper­son says 217-221 Par­nell Rd is not listed in ei­ther the district plan or pro­posed Uni­tary Plan. It is also miss­ing from the New Zealand Her­itage List.

Par­nell Her­itage co-chair Julie Hill says the reg­is­ter of his­toric build­ings is in­com­plete. There are plenty of old build­ings worth pre­serv­ing in Par­nell, she says.

‘‘There should be some no­ti­fi­ca­tion on the street to let peo­ple who care about the sub­urb know what’s hap­pen­ing. We see some­thing and think is this build­ing go­ing to be de­mol­ished or earth­quake strength­ened?’’

Par­nell Inc gen­eral man­ager Ch­eryl Adam­son says the sub­urb has always held her­itage close to its heart.

Mod­ern devel­op­ment is now adding di­ver­sity to the sub­urb, she says.

‘‘In Par­nell there’s this in­cred­i­bly in­ter­est­ing di­ver­sity and eclec­tic mix of mod­ern build­ings go­ing in next to her­itage ones. That mix is what’s go­ing to make the Par­nell of the future very ex­cit­ing.’’

The coun­cil has car­ried out about 6000 ini­tial seis­mic as­sess­ments on pre1976 com­mer­cial and large res­i­den­tial build­ings in the re­gion. So far, 725 have been clas­si­fied as po­ten­tially earth­quake-prone.

A coun­cil spokesper­son says clas­si­fi­ca­tions are sub­ject to change if ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion comes to hand such as a de­tailed seis­mic as­sess­ment from the owner.

The coun­cil is ‘‘pru­dently await­ing’’ the fi­nal form of earth­quake-strength­en­ing leg­is­la­tion from Par­lia­ment which might have a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on the is­sue in Auck­land, he says.

Photo: LAU­REN PRI­EST­LEY

Go­ing on­line: Busi­ness­woman Kim He­las is mov­ing out of Par­nell while her store is earth­quake strength­ened.

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