Quadra’s emergency meeting area at risk in the event of an earthquake

Quadra Island’s community centre, which is designated as the island’s emergency reception centre may not be safe in an earthquake

Quadra Island’s community centre, which is designated as the island’s emergency reception centre may not be safe in the event of an earthquake, according to a report released by the Strathcona Regional District.

The community centre, which was built in 1985 with a new stage and a two-storey addition added in 2001, is considered to be at risk of unrepairable damage if a significant earthquake were to occur, according to a recent seismic evaluation of the centre.

In the report, the community centre is given an H3 ranking – a high level on the priority retrofit ranking scale.

“H3 ranking is characterized as isolated failure of building, such as walls, is expected and the building is likely not repairable after a significant seismic level event,” states the report.

The centre was given a high level ranking because of the rocking plywood shearwalls. The report said it’s assumed that there are no hold down anchors in the walls of the main hall to resist rocking. The other issue is the addition, which was not tied together with the original hall at the time of construction which means the seismic weight of the original hall would be transferred to the centre’s addition.

Beth Rees, the regional district’s community services manager, is recommending the regional district budget for a retrofit.

“To not proceed with upgrades is not offered as an alternative due to the public natures of the building’s use, its significant value as a core element of the community’s social well-being, and the actual physical value of the infrastructure – $2.5 million insured value,” said Rees in a report to the board.

The options are: a life safety retrofit for $267,630, an enhanced performance retrofit at a cost of $335,020, or the cheaper alternative of a phased retrofit for $24,067.

The enhanced retrofit is supposed to ensure less post-earthquake damage than a building upgraded with the life safety retrofit. The phased retrofit involves minor improvements to bring down the priority ranking until funding is available to complete a life safety or enhanced upgrade.

Russ Hotsenpiller, chief administrative officer for the regional district, said in a report to the board that it would make sense to opt for the enhanced retrofit as there is extra security and the scope of work is not much more than with the life safety retrofit.

“It is further recommended that the upgrades be completed in the near future,” Hotsenpiller said. “The timely implementation of a full retrofit will serve to reduce the level risk to facility users, the potential for damage to the facility in the event of an earthquake, and reduce the regional district’s exposure to liability.”

Hotsenpiller said the regional district would likely have to ask Quadra Islanders for their consent to borrow money for the project.

“As there are currently no capital reserves in place to off-set the associated $335,020 cost of the enhanced performance retrofit, it is recommended that elector assent be sought in 2014 for long-term borrowing and further that upgrades be completed in 2015,” Hotsenpiller said.

The board was expected to consider the community centre report and and all available options at its regular board meeting Thursday afternoon after the Mirror went to press.