Council backs strengthening of community assets

Published on 17 June 2020

HAPAI Building 879 – 881 Fergusson Drive, Upper Hutt

A programme of work to future-proof two popular community facilities in Upper Hutt has been given the go-ahead by Upper Hutt City Council.

At its meeting on Wednesday 10 June, Council backed the seismic strengthening of the HAPAI Building and the Professionals Recreation Hall, to bring them up to 67% and 70% of the National Building Standard (NBS) respectively.

The HAPAI Building has been out of action since a Detailed Seismic Assessment (DSA) carried out last year showed the building was earthquake prone.

The Professionals Recreation Hall has also been closed as part of the wider work programme of expansion and renovation being carried out on Expressions Whirinaki.

Upper Hutt Mayor Wayne Guppy said the significant value both assets added to the community made deciding to strengthen them the logical and prudent choice.

“Ensuring our community organisations can continue to support our city through the use of these buildings is a vital way of keeping our people connected.

“The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has also added an extra impetus to enable our community groups to have the spaces they need to help our community get back on its feet.

“Weighing the cost of strengthening these buildings, estimated at $370,000 for the HAPAI Building and $250,000 for the Professionals Recreation Hall, alongside the value they bring to the community makes the decision to strengthen both assets the right choice for the city.”

The cost of strengthening the HAPAI Building also compared favourably with the $2 million it is estimated it would cost to replace the building, Mayor Guppy said.

He said it had been proposed that the funding for strengthening the Professionals Recreation Hall would come from the Seismic Strengthening Budget set aside in the Long Term Plan 2018 – 2028.

Mayor Guppy said given the current work being carried out on Expressions Whirinaki, it made sense to wrap the strengthening of the Professionals Recreation Hall into this existing work programme.

On current estimates the strengthening work on the HAPAI Building was due to take around nine months, and the work on the Professionals Recreation Hall around three months.

Users of the HAPAI Building would also be consulted with around what the renovation of the building would look like once the strengthening work had been completed.