Courthouse awaiting engineer’s report

The Oamaru District Court.
The Oamaru District Court.
There is no  set date for the earthquake-strengthening report required by Waitaki District Council to start remediation work on the Thames St Oamaru District Court building.

The council took possession of the courthouse in July 2016. It was closed in 2011 because it did not meet earthquake standards.

The criminal court was transferred to Timaru for months, before it  moved in March 2012 to the Oamaru Opera House.

In August 2014, it was relocated to a "porta-court" borrowed from Christchurch and situated in a Humber St car park.

Once the old courthouse is strengthened, court services could return to the Thames St building.In March 2016, Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher hoped the strengthening could be completed within a year, but that deadline will not be met.

Council property manager Renee Julius said the council had preliminary drawings of the  work and was  waiting for final construction details.

She said there were several reasons for the  delay and a prime cause was the availability of the specialist engineer the council was using for the report.

She had been assured the report was "very" imminent.

The engineer had also been waiting on the outcome of the Government’s final deliberations over earthquake legislation, she said.

"Although it was promised in 2014, it is not yet in effect. The legislative regulations are also not yet in place. However, the engineers are extrapolating information from official statements.

"The CEO of Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment  has also yet to declare what are acceptable procedures — the engineers understand what they will be, but are yet to receive the official declaration. However, they are now proceeding in the expectation that nothing else will change."

The earthquake-strengthening was projected to cost $35,000 and the fire engineering report was expected to be $5000.

The engineering firm contracted to produce the  strengthening report  is Hadley and Robinson Ltd.

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