Councillors defend chambers upgrade

Invercargill City Council chambers are set to get a $45,000 face-lift, despite chatter at a council meeting as to whether it was the "right time".

The proposed upgrades were confirmed at an Infrastructural Services Committee meeting earlier this week.

Deputy mayor Toni Biddle — who attended the meeting via video call — said she felt uncomfortable about the perception of doing up the chambers when staff and members of the community were not working.

"I’d just like to ask the council whether or not this is the appropriate time to do it — I know this was done before Covid hit and it is not a huge, huge, huge cost in comparison to the normal spending but it still a great cost."

However, a counter-argument was provided by Cr Rebecca Amundsen that it was a priority to improve on the council’s livestreaming capabilities.

"We’ve already had issues today with such a thing and in our efforts to be more transparent with the public. I actually think it is a huge priority."

She also pointed out one of the quotes for the new tables was from an Invercargill company.

"Spending money with a company like that does support the community."

Committee chairman Ian Pottinger said this was the time for local government to be doing projects.

"They will get good prices and it provides work for the local community."

It was noted the furniture was a health hazard to staff moving it — and the upgrade would increase multifunctionality within the council chambers.

Cr Biddle said she supported the "why" of upgrading, but questioned the timing of it.

A report will be provided to the committee at the next meeting on the cost associated with the audio upgrade for livestreaming-video conferencing facilities.

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