‘Aspirational’ target set for new ORC base

The Otago Regional Council’s new headquarters in Dunedin may be be ready for use by the end of next year.

Councillors have been told a December 2022 completion date for refurbishment of the former Maclaggan St Warehouse site for the council was an ‘‘aspirational target’’.

An update to be presented at today’s council meeting said the council’s present leases at Philip Laing House, where councillors meet and some staff are housed, would expire in October 2023.

The 10-month window gave a buffer in case the building project took longer than indicated, the report said.

‘‘Ultimately the timeline will be heavily influenced by the final scope that is agreed, market supply capacity, and any unforeseen delays should they occur, i.e. further Covid-related shutdowns,’’ it said.

While a large part of the building would consist of fairly standard office space, the council had some specific technical requirements for areas including Civil Defence Emergency Management, the council chamber, customer service and specific storage and equipment requirements for environmental monitoring and science staff.

In June, Port Otago’s property arm announced it had bought the Maclaggan St building, for $10.2million, so it could be turned into the council’s office.

The 100% council-owned port company was managing the overall refurbishment and building project, today’s update said.

Port Otago had consulted local iwi and given the project the working name of ‘‘Whare Runanga’’, or ‘‘council house’’.

Two meetings were held in September to interview and select the design team, and GHD Woodhead was appointed to lead scoping and design work.

GHD Woodhead held an online meeting with the council’s executive leadership team last week to discuss the project scope, the report said.

Capital spending of $5million was included in year 2 (2022-23) of the council’s long-term plan.

The money was intended to cover leasehold improvements and fitout not included in the core building refurbishment.

Capital costs were to be funded from the council’s building reserve fund, it said.

Additional operating costs of $2million were included from year 3 of the long-term plan.

That money would cover rent and other costs associated with the lease, including rates.

However, the report said the amounts included in the long-term plan were high-level estimates and more precise amounts would be confirmed once full cost estimates were developed.

The final costs would also depend on how costs were allocated between Port Otago and the council as the lessee.

The council has spent more than a decade searching for a new Dunedin base.

At present, council staff in the city are spread between council’s Stafford St headquarters and the leased space at Philip Laing House.

hamish.maclean@odt.co.nz

Comments

Guess another rates increase coming. Oh wait there is

A disgrace - more than $25 million of ratepayers money has been spent by a Council that fails to deliver little of value to the Otago community and has so far nothing to show for it.. Think about it? When did ORC do anything for you?

Given the appauling performance of this Council their grandioise new office that has cost us tens of millions of dollars and will add nothing to the environmental enhancement of Otago is not aspirational. It is more akin to a very large dung heap that has been carfully topped with a strawberry by a band of mindless buffoons. No use to anyone, except an excuse for another rates increase?

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