Work to remove temporary courthouse set to begin soon

Fraser Gibbs
Fraser Gibbs
Work to remove the former temporary courthouse will begin before the end of the month, the Ministry of Justice says.

While an exact date had not been set, a ministry spokesman confirmed the Humber St building, known as the ''porta-court'', was scheduled for removal in the next two weeks.

It had earlier been confirmed by Ministry of Justice commercial and property general manager Fraser Gibbs the leased building would be removed and returned to the company it was leased from.

The portable cell was owned by the ministry and would go into storage until it was needed for another project.

''We anticipate the buildings will be removed in early March and that the site will be fully cleared by the end of April,'' he said in a brief statement to the Otago Daily Times. in late January.

''The ministry is satisfied that the building was a good temporary solution, given it was always recognised that it was temporary while we explored options for a permanent solution.''

Oamaru court services returned to the historic 1883 Thames St courthouse in mid-January, after the building was closed in 2011 when it was classed as earthquake-prone.

Court services were initially relocated to Timaru, then the nearby Oamaru Opera House in 2012 and eventually to the portable facility in Humber St in 2014.

After an initial ministry estimate of $6million to reopen the 136-year-old courthouse, the Waitaki District Council bought the building, agreeing to lease it back to the ministry.

The council invested roughly $900,000 in a project to earthquake-strengthen and refurbish it and its surroundings last year.

The work was completed in October. The official opening on October 4 was attended by Justice Minister Andrew Little.


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