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The University of Canterbury’s Edward Percival Field Station, a teaching and research facility situated on the Kaikoura Peninsula, has been closed indefinitely due to its “unacceptable” risk to life.
The University Council made the decision to close the site after a geotechnical report by Tonkin and Taylor found the building unsafe for inhabitants.
The report stated 18 people out of a group of 20 sleeping in the research laboratory “may die” if the building was impacted by a “large-volume rockslide.”
A Hong Kong Geotechnical Engineering Office’s report also found the building high risk to students, with the report saying “between 15 and 24 people within a group of 30 could die in an ‘intermediate’ or ‘large-volume’ rockslide.”
The closure of the field stations will affect student’s studies, with other accommodation arrangements having to be made for next year’s three day annual research trip, and could impact research of the whales in the Kaikoura area.
Kaikoura Marine Centre and Aquarium staff member Faye Donoghue said she has missed seeing the researchers carrying out their work.
“You don’t see anyone working out on the coastline anymore,” she said.
The University of Canterbury stopped using the building in June and has made no decision regarding the future of the site.