ORC awaits decision on harbourside office

It could be mid-March at the earliest before a decision is released on the Otago Regional Council's proposed designation change to build its new office block.

A five-day hearing into the proposal to build a 4000sq m office block at the junction of Kitchener and Birch Sts was held in December before Dunedin City councillors Colin Weatherall and Richard Walls and commissioner Roger Tasker.

Regional council director of corporate services Wayne Scott said it had been hoped the hearing panel would have issued its recommendation by the end of January.

However, staff had been advised the commissioners had been unable to meet to conclude their deliberations and were not expected to meet again until late February, he said in a report to be presented at the finance and corporate committee tomorrow.

A recommendation was not likely to be forthcoming until mid-March, at the earliest.

The council was also waiting for a decision from the Environment Court on Ferrum Engineering's request for a declaration that the proposed designation was unlawful.

‘‘A decision from the court will hopefully not be too far away,'' Mr Scott said.
The delays were not upsetting council plans as it was progressing with its building and site design, he said.

Its project managers were preparing for demolition and, as it was hoped to recycle materials as part of a quest for a five-star green building rating, they would allow as much time as possible for pre-building site preparation.

Given the notification of the Dunedin City Council's harbourside plan change and the nature of the site, if the building did not proceed a clear site was more appropriate than the site with the existing buildings on it, he said.

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