Prison rates relief bid

The group planning to buy the former Dunedin Prison has applied to the Dunedin City Council for rates relief for the Castle St building.

But Dunedin Prison Charitable Trust spokesman Stewart Harvey said on Friday the trust was still not in a position to confirm the purchase.

The application was one of many the trust had made to various funders on the expectation the purchase would be confirmed, he said.

Last month, the trust received $10,000 from the Otago Community Trust towards the purchase.

It has been known since September last year that the trust hoped to buy the prison from the Department of Corrections.

Mr Harvey said he expected it would be the end of May before he could say whether the purchase was confirmed.

Asked why there had been a delay, he said everything was controlled by the Department of Corrections [and others] and the trust had to wait. He declined to comment further.

The trust's rates relief application was discussed in private at the council's finance, strategy and development committee meeting on Thursday.

Contacted after the meeting, committee chairman Cr Syd Brown said the application would be discussed again by the full council at its May meeting and details of the application would be made public after that, provided it was granted.

No-one from the Department of Corrections responded to an ODT request for an interview.


Dunedin Prison, Castle St
First jail built on site.
1892: Construction of present building begun.
1898: Building first occupied.
1958: Became women's prison.
1974: Became men's remand and short sentence prison.
1984: Given New Zealand Historic Places Trust category 1 registration; thought to be only example of Victorian courtyard prison still existing in New Zealand or Australia.
2007: Prison closed and prisoners moved to Otago Correctional Facility at Milburn.
Source: New Zealand Historic Places Trust


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