DCC starts planning to refurbish Civic Centre

The Civic Centre seen from the Octagon. Photo ODT files
The Civic Centre seen from the Octagon. Photo ODT files
The Dunedin City Council has begun planning for the potentially pricey refurbishment of its Civic Centre headquarters.

The work is in the early stages and a more detailed plan is not expected to be ready until later this year, in time for next year's long term plan (LTP) budget hearings.

However, council chief executive Dr Sue Bidrose, speaking at a recent council meeting, said the cost of upcoming building maintenance work, particularly inside the Civic Centre, was likely to be ``substantial''.

``We would expect to need a substantial amount of money for that work,'' she told councillors.

Dr Bidrose said yesterday the refurbishment could involve everything from new carpets and replacement windows to a new floor configuration and modernised IT systems.

The Civic Centre was showing its age, she said.

``We've had a number of discussions about potential refurbishment in this building over the last year or two, but we don't have finalised plans ... we just know we are going to have to do some refurbishment.

``The building is 35 years old, so we are in the process of starting to have a bit of a look at what it needs.''

The work plan that would eventually result, and the cost, were not yet known, but the council had funds in its budget for building maintenance to draw on, she said.

The maintenance plans also included a $4.3million refurbishment of the central city library, which was already budgeted to begin in 2019-20.

The council was taking a ``bottom-up'' look at its maintenance requirements, the results of which would form part of next year's LTP process, she said.

That included buildings, but also improvements to the system for managing other assets, such as roading and pipes, she said.

At last Tuesday's council meeting, councillors voted to dip into a fund that included $280,000 for building maintenance, in order to fund food resilience ($50,000) and Te Ao Turoa environment strategy ($150,000) initiatives for 2017-18.

A report to the meeting indicated the funding was for building maintenance that had been deferred while the wider review of asset management within the council was completed.

Council strategy and development general manager Sandy Graham told the meeting the fund could be replenished later this year, using interest savings from lower-than-expected debt levels.

A report containing options for the use of the interest savings was expected to be presented to councillors in May.

In the meantime, dipping into the fund was considered a ``suitable holding pattern'', Dr Bidrose said.




Isn't a depreciation value set aside each year over the 35 years of such buildings? Sorry Dr Bidrose if this hasn't been done the don't expect to rob other rate payers projects to pay for this. Adding to that if the DCC hasn't done that then such a project should be done in stages, and as said before modernised IT systems isn't part of Building maintenance, such things as servers, New PC's, laptops should have been planned for. One other Question does the DCC ever plan for such activities.

Perhaps the people of Dunedin should decide when the DCC has earned a refurbishment? Perhaps when all our poles are replaced? Or our stormwater system updated? Or all the building consents processed in time? Or when our rates bills stop rising? Fancy digs will not improve the performance of the council so perhaps the money might be better directed elsewhere?

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