The Levin District Court will be closed from Monday November 18 for earthquake strengthening.
While the building meets current standards, the Ministry asked an engineering firm to assess the building against proposed new guidelines for concrete buildings, and the engineers have concluded that part of the courthouse would not meet those standards. Planning is still underway for the work and a reopening date has not yet been confirmed.
Ministry of Justice Chief Operating Officer, Carl Crafar, says the Ministry made the decision to close the courthouse as soon as possible to speed up the strengthening works and reduce risk to all of the building’s occupants.
“The Ministry of Justice is committed to the health and safety of all people who work in or visit its facilities throughout New Zealand,” says Mr Crafar.
“For the safety of our staff and other court participants, we have chosen to close the court while work to increase the strength of some connections between a floor slab and some steel beams is undertaken.
“I recognise that this will cause significant disruption to court participants in Levin and we are doing all we can to minimise this, changing venues and times for court hearings to the closest courthouses to Levin. If you are affected, a Ministry staff member will be in touch.”
Managers have met with staff based at the court to announce and explain the decision and to outline support available. The Ministry has also spoken with the judiciary and relevant stakeholders about the closure.
The Ministry of Justice manages a significant property portfolio of specialist buildings to provide justice services to New Zealanders. The property portfolio is one of the largest in the public sector, with more than 100 operations in 95 locations, and the Ministry has a continuous programme of assessment and maintenance works for its buildings.
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