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Monday, April 4, 2011

Alarm at errors on Christchurch demolish list

Alarm at errors on Christchurch demolish list

Last updated 05:00 05/04/2011
Central-city tenants have accused Civil Defence of mistakenly condemning their buildings.

However, the national controller says it is probably just a difference of opinion.

On Friday, Civil Defence released a list of 128 Christchurch buildings earmarked for probable demolition, but quickly admitted it had made a mistake with three buildings.

Yesterday, tenants and building owners questioned the list, with some saying their buildings had been incorrectly included.

Community Law Canterbury manager Paul O'Neill said he was "absolutely shocked" to learn the Madras St law centre had been recommended for demolition.

The centre was red-stickered because of danger from an adjacent building, but had suffered no significant damage, he said.

"They need to be very certain before they put a building on that list."

After contacting the emergency management office, O'Neill said he was told a mistake had probably been made and the building was unlikely to be demolished.

"For them not to contact us is inexcusable really."

Walker Davey partner John Abbot said he found out only through the media that the BDO Spicer building on Victoria St, where his office was based, was earmarked for demolition.

"I think some people have just pulled some names out of a hat."

The news contradicted the last update from the building's owner, who had said it could probably be repaired, Abbot said.

He said he would like to go into the building to recover records, but that possibility was uncertain.

"We're just in a holding pattern."

Portobello Antiques owner Deric Blackler said it was the fourth time Civil Defence had told him his building was going to be demolished, and contradicted a claim it had already been reduced to rubble.

"I'm feeling a bit numb to it now," he said.

Blackler was still desperate to recover his stock and personal possessions.

Colliers International property management director Evan Harris said the list was not the "be-all and end-all".

"I think there are a lot more that will come into that category."

National controller John Hamilton said he was not aware of any errors on the list, beyond the three previously admitted. "The only explanation I could provide is that there is some discrepancy between the engineering report that we had done and the building owner's and tenant's perception."

Hamilton would not provide a demolition timetable.

"I can't provide any hint of a timetable ... as to what could happen to those buildings as we are in discussions with owners themselves and insurers to develop a plan," he said.

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