Mayor treads carefully with museum due to stadium collapse

The Southland Museum & Art Gallery.

AMONG calls that the closure of the Southland Museum & Art Gallery was an overreaction, Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt has pointed to the Stadium Southland collapse as to why he is treading carefully.

The Southland Museum & Art Gallery (SMAG) was closed last month after the Invercargill City Council (ICC) opted to remove staff from the venue because of a peer review into a 2013 report suggested the building was earthquake prone.

Invercargill architect Bob Simpson and Dunedin-based structural engineer Lou Robinson spoke at a SMAG meeting last week.

Mr Simpson said his objective was to convince SMAG trustees that there was no legal or structural reason for the museum to be closed.

He had gathered advice from two experienced structural engineers who believed the ground conditions to be better than what was outlined in the 2013 report, he said.

He believed the occupancy loadings used for calculations in the report were wrong.

Mr Simpson also pointed to building professional Lindsay Buckingham’s previous comments in relation to the legal responsibilities of the ICC.

Mr Buckingham has challenged Mr Shadbolt and ICC chief executive Clare Hadley around comments made on the council’s liabilities. A statement from Mr Shadbolt was also tabled at meeting where he addressed his own outlook of the situation.

“The reason I am taking such a cautious stand on this issue is because we were warned [Stadium Southland] was dodgy and no action was taken to rectify the situation.

“Fortunately the stadium collapsed early in the morning and no staff members or the public were present except for one tennis player.”

Stadium Stadium collapsed in 2010 following a heavy dumping of snow.

SMAG board member and city councillor Darren Ludlow asked Mr Simpson what his understanding of liability was in relation to the Trustees Act.

Mr Simpson acknowledged he hadn’t looked at that but instead had measured it against building and health and safety requirements.

“The two things that got quoted in Mrs Hadley’s report were the Building Act and the Health and Safety stuff, so I haven’t checked what you are asking. But I think you will find that isn’t a problem.

“You might find you will have a lot of other buildings closed if you are going to be pedantic.”


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