Mu­seum ‘not in good shape’


The Ro­torua Mu­seum - closed af­ter cracks ap­peared in the wake of this month’s earth­quake - will re­mained closed for now.

An ini­tial en­gi­neers re­port has re­vealed the build­ing ‘‘isn’t in good shape’’, ac­cord­ing to Mu­seum di­rec­tor Ste­wart Brown.

Brown said last week that the iconic 100-year-old Mu­seum would re­main closed un­til ‘ at least’ to­day and that a fur­ther en­gi­neers re­port, un­der­taken on Fri­day, would re­veal more about the state of the build­ing.

How­ever, on Mon­day coun­cil said said there re­mained no up­date on when the mu­seum would open again.

‘‘Ini­tial re­ports from our en­gi­neers are that the build­ing isn’t in good shape,’’ Brown said.

‘‘The build­ing has sus­tained dam­age, crack­ing to pil­lars, walls and beams.’’

Brown said some of the Mu­seum col­lec­tion had been re­moved from the build­ing as part of con­tin­gency plans, though he said en­gi­neers had re­as­sured him ‘‘it’s not in dan­ger of col­lapse’’.

He said the key rea­son for the clo­sure of the Mu­seum was the safety of vis­i­tors and the 40 staff - who are on spe­cial leave at present and still be­ing paid.

He said cracks had ap­peared ‘‘pretty much through­out the whole build­ing’’ but de­clined to pro­vide pho­to­graphs, ‘‘cracks need con­text’’.

‘‘We’re talk­ing mil­lime­tres in most cases,’’ he said.

Brown said it was too early to spec­u­late on the costs in­volved in get­ting the build­ing fit to re­open, not­ing that the main Cen­tury-old struc­ture’s re­in­forc­ing ‘‘is num­ber eight barbed wire’’.

Ro­torua Lakes Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive Geoff Wil­liams said in­sur­ance cover ex­isted for the build­ing, loss of rev­enue and the arts col­lec­tion, and that the in­sur­ers had been no­ti­fied.

‘‘There will be some cover,’’ he said.

Ro­torua Lakes Coun­cil un­der­took earth­quake risk as­sess­ments say­ing of its build­ings in 2011 fol­low­ing the in­tro­duc­tion of new reg­u­la­tions prompted by the Christchurch earth­quakes.

Sev­eral coun­cil build­ings were iden­ti­fied as be­ing at risk, in­clud­ing the older, cen­tral part of the mu­seum which dates back to 1908.

Mean­while, prepa­ra­tion for earth­quake strength­en­ing of the coun­cil’s iSite on Fen­ton Street is un­der­way fol­low­ing the pre­vi­ous pre­cau­tion­ary clo­sure of the clock tower part of the build­ing.

The his­toric part of the Sir Howard Mor­ri­son Per­form­ing Arts Cen­tre has also pre­vi­ously been iden­ti­fied as be­ing an earth­quake risk.

Ro­torua Mu­seum will re­mained closed for now af­ter last week’s quake.

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