Earthquake Risk Prompts Health Board to change Plans

Earthquake risk prompts health board plan change

By Ros Brown © New Zealand 2004 Thursday, 6 May 2004

See: http://times-age.co.nz/news2004/040506c.html

THE hockey field in Te Ore Ore Road, which is the site of the Greenfield option – Wairarapa District Health Board’s revised plan to build a new single-storey main Masterton Hospital building.

A possible earthquake risk has forced the Wairarapa District Health Board to change its plans for a new hospital and to spend more money.

Board chief executive David Meates announced yesterday it is planning to replace the initial plan announced last December to spend $27.2 million to gut and refurbish the existing three-storeyed building.

The board was told the earlier plan had been scrapped because a seismic survey carried out in February this year showed the existence of a possible faultline, which, while not running directly under the existing building, ran south of the hospital terrace.

The new plan would involve a single-storey building to be built on the hockey field in front of the existing Te Ore Ore Road hospital, and would be built to withstand a major earthquake. The change in plan requires an additional $2.3 million. The board has said “whatever the final outcome, the already approved funding of $27.2 million would not be jeopardised”.

Seismic tests were done in March by Canterbury University after a Masterton District Council map had shown the faultline, but the open field between the buildings and Te Ore Ore Road was clear of that faultline. The report also said the existing 40-year-old building had some structural weaknesses and Mr Meates said although it would not collapse in a “significant seismic event” it was doubtful whether it would be safe afterwards.

The new facility – the Greenfield option – will house a new accident and emergency department, eight-bed day-procedure unit and outpatient clinics, three operating theatres, 37-bed unit for surgical and medical patients, unit for obstetric and neo-natal services and a six-bed intensive-care and coronary unit.

At a special board meeting last week the board resolved to submit a revised business case justifying the new facility to the national capital committee.“ The Wairarapa District Health Board members were very clear that after advice from the Ministry of Health, a summarised business case containing the latest findings will be produced for a special board meeting on May 18, before sending it to the national capital committee in late June.” The committee will make its final decision in July. If approved, construction could start as early as November.

 


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