A BMW owner is fuming after being forced to abandon her and her partner's only car in a Wellington building because of earthquake risks.

Jade Elliott uses a Wilson Parking building on lower Tory St, in the same block that was evacuated yesterday after the Reading Cinemas car park, was deemed by Wellington City Council engineers as being "likely to collapse" in a strong aftershock.

She has no idea when she'll be able to get her car back, and she and her partner will now have to make their daily commute to the CBD from the Hutt Valley using public transport or a borrowed car.

A spokeswoman for Wilson Parking said today that the company is working with the council and response teams, to allow owners to retrieve their cars as soon as is practical and safe.


The company confirmed it has received phone calls from a handful of customers with vehicles still inside the car park and is continuing to communicate all available updates to them.

Tory St, between Wakefield St and Courtenay Place, remains cordoned off today, restricting access to the car park.

Wilson Parking has told Elliott she can use another of the company's parks free of charge. But she doesn't have a car or a parking sticker to display.

She said the $182 a month she paid for the park wasn't that much of a problem.

But after being told on Wednesday by the company that the car park was safe, the shock and stress of facing earthquakes and floods and now being stuck without a vehicle were a problem, she said.

"I did get quite upset when I found out I couldn't get it back. I spent hours on the phone trying to find a way home after work.

"It's not what you want when you're already dealing with earthquakes and floods."

Yesterday, the Wellington City Council announced that the Courtenay Central complex and car park was evacuated because of safety concerns.

"This also affects surrounding buildings, including some apartments.

"We are taking a safety approach with this building as we don't want to put people at risk. We have cordoned off Tory St between Wakefield St and Courtenay Place," a statement said.

The building was closed late Thursday afternoon after engineers engaged by the building owner raised concerns.

"The engineers' report is being peer-reviewed by council engineers."

A Fire Service spokesman said if the car park collapsed, it could put surrounding buildings at risk.

Yesterday, Wilson Parking said customers whose cars were in five of its closed parks were given an opportunity to retrieve their vehicles under supervision during a set window of time.

At that time, the area where Elliott's car was parked was yet to be closed.

While aftershocks are continuing, Wilson Parking is urging commuters who see damage to any of the parking buildings, not to enter and to contact the company immediately.

Teams are monitoring these risks with regular reviews and is undertaking additional structural assessments where potential risks are raised, said the spokeswoman.

Most of the multi-storey car parks which can now open sustained only superficial damage, including small cracks and rubble.

Wilson has maintenance teams moving through the car parks to tidy any debris.