Car park option for building kept

Graeme Martin
Graeme Martin
The Otago Regional Council has decided on a "pathway" towards solving its accommodation problems which includes providing for a temporary council chamber in its Stafford St car park.

Yesterday, the council agreed to include provision in the 2012-13 financial year for the development of a building in its car park to alleviate overcrowding of its premises.

Chief executive Graeme Martin would not put a figure on the provision yesterday, saying it would be included in the draft annual plan to be considered by the council next month.

The decision only gave the council the option to build it if it chose to do so during the coming financial year. It was not a decision to build, Mr Martin said.

Ratepayers would have their chance to have a say on the option through the annual plan process and then the council would consider it again before approving the annual plan.

Yesterday's decisions were made in public after a private workshop with consultants OCTA on the options and costs of a long-term solution to the overcrowding problems.

Chairman Stephen Woodhead said the decision gave the community a "clear signal of the path forward", including the need for the council to have more information before it took any long-term solution to the public.

"We're going to have to work pretty hard in the next 12 months to get one or two proposals to consult on. But we've got a good starting point."

Moving the political side of council's business "a couple of steps off to the side" was logical because it allowed staff to continue working in one building.

The agreement the council could buy a new site if it chose to, within its property portfolio, gave the council some flexibility, he said.

Cr Sam Neil said the provision for the temporary accommodation took the pressure off the council so it could make a long-term decision without making mistakes.

"It alleviates the immediate problem and it will be good to see the recommendations debated in public."

Cr Trevor Kempton said the temporary accommodation option was "very cost-effective" when looking at the total cost of revamping council accommodation.

Cr Trevor Kempton said he hoped the public would become involved in the project.

Cr Michael Deaker acknowledged the council's staff for giving it the "space" to deliberate the issue.

The provision for the temporary building and for the cost of design and planning of a permanent solution will be included in the council's annual and long-term plans due out for consultation next month.


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