Staff vacate centre

Richard King
Richard King
Invercargill City Council (ICC) staff are vacating the Bluff Service Centre because the building has been assessed as a serious earthquake risk and it is uncertain whether it will ever reopen.

A temporary service centre incorporating the Bluff library would be created in the former Bluff municipal chambers further along Gore St while a decision was made on whether it was cost-effective to upgrade the building, chief executive Richard King said earlier this week.

All council-owned buildings had been assessed for earthquake risk and the service centre report just received rated the building at less than 10% of new building standards, he said. Buildings under 34% are considered earthquake-prone.

There had been no previous issues with the unreinforced brick building.

''We were quite surprised at how low its rating was. But we can't afford to have staff and customers in danger so we have made the decision to relocate.''

It was hoped that would happen by the end of next week.

The municipal chambers building is now owned by a charitable trust. Mr King said a lease would be signed for perhaps six months to give the council time to decide what to do next.

''We will be looking at all options. We are committed to having a service centre in Bluff.''

The service centre building stands beside the vacant Club Hotel which the Bluff Oyster and Food Festival Charitable Trust is trying to buy. There is room on the site for a community centre and/or service centre.

Mr King said building on the hotel site was another option the council would approach ''with an open mind''.

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