A timely and interesting post from the WCC, showing a list of relevant accommodation providers, that may or may not have issues similar to the Loafer’s Lodge, which, as we all know, tragically burnt down and killed people. No one wants a repeat of that sordid mess, and so the great thing is that the WCC are being pro-active and trying to get ahead of the game here. Here’s a link to Scoop’s post – curiously I have not seen it on Stuff Post yet.

“Council staff compiled the attached list of 25 buildings based on criteria that:

· included multi-level buildings over two stories

· provided commercial short/long term residential options similar to that of Loafers Lodge

· included boarding houses, backpackers and some residential hotels/motels.

The list was compiled based on a cross-Council desktop review and may not be exhaustive.”

Surely some mistake? A double bed in a hostel, with a viewing platform above?

AC International House
140 Ghuznee Street

Base Wellington
22 Cambridge Terrace

Boxhill Lodge (Aura Hotel)
49 Cuba Street (95 Manners Street)

Capital Accommodation
363 Willis Street

Capital House
21 Manchester Terrace

Harbour City Motor Inn
92-96 Webb Street

Hayne House – (has not historically had a BWoF)
107 Coutts Street

Hotel St George
124 Willis Street

Hotel Waterloo & Backpackers
1 Bunny Street

Hotel Willis Lodge
318 Willis Street

Laneway Backpackers
107 Manners Street

Lodge in the City
152 Taranaki Street

Nomads Capital Backpackers Wellington
120 Wakefield Street

Peoples Palace & Trekkers (Naumi Hotel)
203 Cuba Street

Richard Pearse House
219 Willis Street

Rosemere Backpackers & Budget Lodge
6 MacDonald Crescent

Cambridge Hotel
28 Cambridge Terrace

The Carillon
33 Thompson Street

Marion Hostel
13 Marion Street

Setup on Dixon
15 Dixon Street

Setup on Manners
57 Manners Street

Trek Global Backpackers
9 O’Reily Avenue

Willis Wellington Hotel
355 Willis Street

YHA Wellington City
292 Wakefield Street

Worldwide Backpackers
291 The Terrace.

Mr Hodgetts says it is important to note that the buildings are not on the list because of an identified safety risk for tenants and residents, and that any suggestion of this would be misleading.

“We urge people to act respectfully and responsibly with this information. We are carrying out on-site audits of 24 of the buildings and we will also arrange a proactive meeting with owners of the building that has not historically had a BWoF to ensure they are aware of any obligations to maintain such essential safety features as clear exits.”

“With 16 of the building audits completed so far, staff have reported no significant problems and have been pleased with the high levels of cooperation from the building owners, their agents, and experts. We can also report that one of the three buildings that did not have a current BWoF is now compliant.”

The St George – once very grand, I presume?

Discussion time. Hmmm. Some of these are absolutely fine, and others of these are potentially dodgy. I presume, and hope that WCC are asking this, questions will be asked, like:

• Does the building have sprinklers? (I presume that most do not, will be interesting to find out)

• Does the building have a good, fire-proof, Fire Escape Stair? (All should do, but do the doors shut? and stay shut?)

• Does it have a second Escape Stair? (If it is over 4 storeys it should. Why does it not?)

• Do either of the Escape Stairs have a Staircase Pressurisation System? (Again – if not, why not?)

• Is there any way that the kitchen can open out into the main Escape Corridor and blaze away with no way of shutting things off?

• Is there an Atrium in the building? Or is there a Fire Shutter in the atrium? Or Smoke Curtains or Smoke Ducts to control the spread of smoke and fire?

• Is there a roof-top hangout with a staircase that does not connect to the main fire escape?

• Too early? Or is that too insensitive to point out?

I’m astonished that the Press has not picked up on that yet, and they are still swallowing the line that the Loafer’s Lodge was 100% compliant and passed its Warrant of Fitness. Someone is clearly lying here – either the building did not comply, in which case the building owner needed to act – or that the building was signed off as compliant, when it really was not, in which case the Council need to talk to their legal counsel. Either way, in the fine clear light of retrospect, something was clearly really wrong with Loafers.

Most of these on the list above are well over the “two storey minimum” and indeed, many of them are a lot taller than the Loafer’s Lodge. Some of them are a bit surprising to see on this list – the Naumi hotel (the old Trekkers/CQ/People’s Palace) which seems a fair bit more upmarket than the others, for instance. But then again, Fire knows no boundaries and does not obey rules of wealth or taste. Others, such as the Lodge in the City, I am amazed to find that they are still in business – I thought that they gave up years ago. Their ground floor (former pool/snooker room) seems to be full of old used mattresses and appears abandoned. Obviously, abandoned buildings should not be used for emergency housing.

Have a good weekend.

Some happy clappy campers on their OE

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