Auckland Emergency Management has tonight established a temporary exclusion zone around the Colonial Ammunition Company Shot Tower in Mt Eden, prompting the evacuation, or partial evacuation, of a number of residential and commercial buildings.
Controller Mace Ward says the forecast high winds and weather conditions associated with Cyclone Gabrielle could cause the 109 year old and approximately 30 metre tower to collapse, damaging the surrounding buildings.
“I have directed the evacuation of buildings surrounding the historic Colonial Ammunition Company Shot Tower based on engineering advice from Tonkin & Taylor, and MetService, earlier this evening.
“Our building assessment team, alongside welfare officers and the NZ Police have been on site alerting residents of around 50 apartments that they need to urgently leave their homes.
“This is an understandably upsetting situation for these people, however the risk of injury as a result of the tower collapsing, is unacceptable,” says Mr Ward.
At the request of Auckland Council, Tonkin & Taylor today undertook a structural inspection of the shot tower. This was to assess the risk relating to the structural condition of the shot tower and determine whether there was an imminent threat to public safety, public services, property or infrastructure.
- Tonkin & Taylor’s inspection confirmed a risk to life and property – that the shot tower could collapse under the potential high wind loading which may be caused by Cyclone Gabrielle.
- Due to the increased risk, Tonkin & Taylor advised that that all buildings within 35 metres of the shot tower are evacuated before the arrival of Cyclone Gabrielle.
- Following the passing of Cyclone Gabrielle, Tonkin & Taylor has advised that the shot tower’s condition is immediately reassessed to confirm that it has not been further damaged by the storm, and that the surrounding buildings are safe to reoccupy.
Residents in the exclusion zone have been encouraged to seek alternative accommodation with friends and whānau. However if this isn’t possible, emergency accommodation is available at one of the Civil Defence Centres (CDCs) set up across Auckland.
Once it is deemed safe to do so, Auckland Council will reassess the Colonial Ammunition Company Shot Tower to determine whether it is safe to reoccupy the neighbouring buildings.
- The Civil Defence Controller has directed the evacuation of the buildings listed below under section 133BR(1) of the Building Act 2004 as the buildings are located in a designated area and evacuation is required to prevent injury or death to person within the designated area.
- Buildings or parts of buildings within the exclusion zone are being red placarded (prohibited entry), and all occupants have been evacuated, for their own safety, until authorisation is given from the Civil Defence Controller for occupants to return.