Quake-strengthening time frame could shorten

Heritage listed Mitre Hotel on Norwich Quay was damaged in the September, 2010, and February and June, 2011 earthquakes. It has been fenced off since 2011.

The heat is going on owners of earthquake-prone properties across Christchurch – including Canterbury’s oldest pub, Lyttelton’s Mitre Hotel.

New provisions introduced into the Building Act (2004) last year require local authorities in areas of high seismic risk to identify earthquake-prone “priority buildings” in high traffic areas or on strategic transport routes.

Such buildings will have to be strengthened twice as quickly as non-priority buildings, shortening the time frame from 15 years to 7.5 years.

That’s because they could collapse during an earthquake and impede important routes.

Consultation is due to take place over the next few months to determine which buildings fit the criteria.

Norwich Quay is a key route for traffic accessing Lyttelton Port.

A city council spokeswoman said no dates had been set but consultation would take place in the second half of this year.

A sly grog shop called the Mitre opened on the Norwich Quay site in 1849 but the current concrete building is the third incarnation after the first was destroyed by fire in 1875 and the second in 1926.

A letter and earthquake-prone building notice was sent to the owner of the Mitre Hotel in January and the spokeswoman confirmed other potentially affected building owners had been sent a similar letter about the consultation.

The pub has been closed since the February 22, 2011, earthquake.

CERA installed safety barriers around the building in March 2012, which cannot be removed until the owner undertakes structural strengthening, which will require a building consent.

No building consent has been lodged with the city council nor any application for heritage funding.

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