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Deconstruction on Molesworth building soon

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 21/11/2016

The deconstruction of the damaged building on Molesworth Street in Wellington central will begin in the next few days, engineers predict.

Wellington City Council's (WCC) general manager of building control, Mike Scott, said the biggest issue with deconstructing the building would be turning off utilities, like power and gas, and it contains a sub station.

The building at 61 Molesworth Street had been assessed as being at significant risk of collapse because of structural failure, and the area around it was cordoned off on Tuesday afternoon.

Mobilising machinery is likely to be moved in on Tuesday, and the deconstruction will begin soon after.

The tenants of nearby buildings, including parts of a cathedral, Rugby House and the New Zealand Red Cross headquarters have not entered their buildings since last Monday's 7.8 magnitude earthquake.

"This isn't going to be a quick fix. This earthquake has had significant impact across the city and the region," Mr Scott said.

There are concerns about residential tenants that were in the building, as it was thought to be unoccupied.

Mr Scott says the council had no idea they were in there, but removing their possessions would be difficult.

"The WCC welfare team are supporting them. The building is unsafe to be entered by anybody. And when I say anybody, I mean anybody."

Engineers were working at a safe distance away from the building.

A section of Courtenay place was also cordoned off on Thursday afternoon after concerns about the structural damage in the Reading carpark.

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester has called on Steven Joyce for business support for those affected by the quake, particularly on Courtenay Place.

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