Council to consider options for offices

Senior Queenstown Lakes District Council staff will review before Christmas ''a number'' of options for new council headquarters in the resort.

Council chief executive Adam Feeley, general manager Stewart Burns and Lakes Environmental chief executive Hamish Dobbie will review the undisclosed number of responses submitted by interested parties, mostly from within the district, by the deadline last Friday.

They will meet one or more respondents to get clarity of costs, building times and other details for assessment in a review likely to last one or two months. If there is a preferred option, it will be submitted as a recommendation to the council, although none of the options may be backed.

''Quality is important, from our point of view, and the quality appears to be very good in terms of the proposals,'' Mr Feeley said.

''Cost neutrality'' and ''operational efficiency'' were his two overriding considerations, he said.

A total of 82 council staff and 75 Lakes Environmental staff are spread over six locations in Queenstown, which was inefficient in moving from one office to another, in the need for multiple support services and in how people communicated effectively.

''I think co-location of all council staff is an extremely desirable outcome and if we can do that with relative cost neutrality, then that's the primary goal,'' Mr Feeley said.

''How it's achieved depends on the responses."

Mr Feeley said he and the council wanted a building provided which would have comparable annual leasing costs to what the council paid now, but better functionality and under one roof.

As to whether it would be more cost-effective for the council to own its headquarters instead of paying rent, Mr Feeley said there was the philosophical issue of whether the council should own buildings, and it was up to the council to decide the trade-off of capital costs, probably funded by rates and loans, and the ongoing management of the building.

Mr Feeley said he had taken a personal interest in the project because of the large costs associated with it.

''Fundamentally, for me, this is not an exercise in creating some special accommodation for council staff.

''It is a practical exercise in managing the organisation effectively and it is very hard to manage effectively when staff are spread in such an ad hoc manner.

''It remains to be seen if any of these options fly, but if they do, we'll make sure they deliver the benefits to council operations."

james.beech@odt.co.nz