The Wanganui District Council needs to make more money available to help owners get their heritage buildings evaluated, according to the chair of Wanganui's Earthquake Prone Buildings Taskforce.
Richard Thompson made a submission to the council's 10 year plan this week on behalf of the Earthquake Prone Buildings Taskforce, a group of local experts formed by the council last year to look at the issue of Wanganui's earthquake-prone buildings.
The council has an allocated fund of $30,000 to subsidise owners of private heritage buildings to complete their initial evaluation procedures (IEPs). The council will pay up to half the cost of an IEP.
All owners of private heritage buildings are required to have an IEP completed by December this year.
Mr Thompson asked the council to consider increasing that pool of money.
"We've suggested a figure of $70,000. Whether that means topped up to $70,000, or an increase of $70,000, is up to the council to decide," Mr Thompson said.
He said the fund had been underused in past years but, with the deadline for IEPs only six months away, it was likely to be in demand this year.
Mr Thompson warned councillors that completing IEPs was just the start of the process.
"It's really just the tip of the iceberg in terms of dealing with Wanganui's earthquake-prone buildings and unfortunately no one knows exactly how big the iceberg is.
"My main purpose for making a submission was to encourage the council to make long-term plans to deal with heritage buildings that are privately owned," Mr Thompson said.
His submission had been signed off by all members of the taskforce, which has been meeting regularly since February.
"We've made a lot of headway in that time, particularly in the area of parapets and verandahs," he said.
"We've also had to get up to speed on some issues, including what's happening locally and nationally with earthquake-prone buildings."
Mr Thompson said the taskforce would be interested to hear the findings of the Royal Commission into the Canterbury earthquakes, which is due to report back in July.
Mr Thompson was pleased with the council's reception of his submission.
"I feel they're supportive of what the taskforce as a whole is doing," he said.