Some of the aftershocks still rocking Canterbury are literally real crackers says Mayor Bob Parker.
His comment was a reference to a large aftershock which rolled through at about noon today further stressing an already badly damaged building in Cranford Street, which began to crumble after the jolt. The Fire Service has confirmed Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) has arranged for the building to be demolished.
The Christchurch City Council's engineers have now surveyed all 550 buildings in the central business district. City Rescue Manager Steve McCarthy said five percent of those buildings have been red stickered meaning they are deemed unsafe and unable to be entered. A further 16 percent have been given a yellow sticker, which allows for building owners to enter the property to assess the extent of the damage. The remainder have been green stickered meaning they are safe and able to be used as normal.
"Some of the red stickered buildings are heritage buildings and we want to manage carefully what happens with these," he said.
Mr McCarthy said buildings that were most badly affected were generally those built in the 1860 to 1940 era. He said there were a number of six and seven storey buildings that have been red stickered.
The Christchurch Central Police Station was one of the first assessed at about 6am on Saturday morning by a structural engineer organised by duty staff. Despite a bit of plaster cracking off the walls and some damage to the upper floors, the station has been given the all clear.
Mr McCarthy said all major arterial routes had now been checked and a further 350 buildings and residential properties have been assessed by engineers and USAR.
Inspector John Price said cordons remain in place around the CBD along Cambridge, Gloucester, Madras and St Asaph streets. If people need to gain access to the restricted area there are two checkpoints at Gloucester and Colombo and Colombo and St Asaph that are letting people into the city.
"We will be holding a log of people going in and out of the restricted area so that we know who is in there in case we need to get them out at any point.
"People are under a lot of stress and we are working with them so they can get access to their building as soon as, and as safety as, possible."
Inspector Price reiterated that safety is the major concern. "We don't want people wandering around, we want them to be in and out as safely and quickly as possible."