Council may stay

The Oamaru Borough Council's home for 82 years could become the permanent meeting venue for the Waitaki District Council.

The district council has been meeting in the Opera House since last March, a temporary relocation after it gave up its council chambers in its headquarters while technicians installed a computer system.

During that time, a minor alteration was also made to the council chambers, to fit a new wall.

The new information system is installed, but the council is to discuss continuing to meet at the Opera House, where the former borough council had its offices.

Council chief executive Michael Ross told the council this week a report would be coming to the council to consider whether to keep meeting at the Opera House, which had better public access or go back to the council chambers in the headquarters building.

Rental for the Opera House, owned by the council, was "cost neutral", Mr Ross pointing out it was a "book entry".

The Oamaru Borough Council built the Opera House and municipal chambers in 1907.

It met in the council chambers until it became part of the district council in 1989, and the new council also met there for a start.

The district council bought the historic former chief post office in Thames St in 1993 for $145,000, then turned it into its headquarters.

Council staff moved to the building in September 1994.

Except on intermittent occasions, the district council has met there since then.

In the $10.3 million redevelopment of the Opera House in 2008, the former Oamaru Borough Council meeting chambers were restored and original furniture, including the mayor's podium, councillors' chairs and tables, was retained.


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