Public input sought to save Sims Engineering building

Dunedin City Council acting general manager of infrastructure and networks Leanne Mash (right) and her personal assistant Kimberley Lamond inspect the interior of the former Sims Engineering building in Port Chalmers earlier this week. Photo: Gregor Richa
Dunedin City Council acting general manager of infrastructure and networks Leanne Mash (right) and her personal assistant Kimberley Lamond inspect the interior of the former Sims Engineering building in Port Chalmers earlier this week. Photo: Gregor Richardson
Retaining the century-old Sims Engineering building in Port Chalmers is likely to be extensive and costly, a report has found.

The Dunedin City Council has released two reports on the state of the former foundry building but has redacted the estimated cost of the work required to retrofit the building and make it safe for use.

The council has asked for expressions of interest and public input on the future of the building but ratepayers will not be footing the bill.

Council acting general manager of infrastructure and networks Leanne Mash said the building was an important part of the Port Chalmers community so the council wanted to see its future secured.

But as no strategic use for the building had been identified by the council no ratepayer money would be used to bring the building up to code, Ms Mash said.

''What we're looking for is people in the community with the time, energy and most importantly the funding to bring it back to life and make it a great community asset,'' she said.

As the building was on council reserve land the building must have a public use, though a commercial operation which had community values would be considered.

Public information sessions would be held in Port Chalmers this month and the West Harbour Community Board would consider the proposals before making a recommendation to the council.

In 2017 the council spent $215,000 removing its asbestos-based roof which exposed the interior to the elements.

A seismic assessment by structural engineer Kieran McGrannachan found there were major issues with the building, particularly the section closest to Port Chalmers.

A significant amount of structural and seismic retrofitting would be required to strengthen the building which would likely be extensive and costly, he said.

HOW TO GET INVOLVED

From August 1-31, people can get more information and submit their suggestions for possible uses of the building at www.dunedin.govt.nz/simsbuilding.

The DCC says people were welcome to attend one of the following engagement events:

• Friday, August 10  from 4-7pm - Port Chalmers Four Square Supermarket.
• Thursday, August 16 from 6.30-7.30pm - Rolfe Room, Port Chalmers Library.
• Sunday, August 19 from 10am-1.30pm - Port Chalmers Community Market.

There would also be an information display at the Port Chalmers Library during August.

Comments

Hawkins from the DCC should be contacted he was the lead in buying Sammies so he and the DCC have set the benchmark for saving old buildings, this would make a great bar restaurant for the cruise ships that visit. Question why are these two ladies pictured not wearing hard hats if the building is unsafe