10 March 2016
The Ministry of Justice has reached an agreement with Waitaki District Council that will see court services returned to Ōamaru’s historic courthouse.
The courthouse will be transferred from the Ministry to the Waitaki District Council, who will seismically strengthen and carry out other minor refurbishments on the building. The Ministry will then lease it from the Council to use as a court.
Fraser Gibbs, General Manager, Commercial and Property, says the agreement is a cost effective permanent solution for providing Ōamaru’s court services.
“Once the work is complete, and the court is up and running, we’ll be able to disestablish the temporary court in the Licensing Trust’s car park,” says Mr Gibbs.
As part of the agreement the Waitaki Council will also be able to use the building outside court sitting hours for council-related activities, such as community meetings, civil defence and emergency situations, and other community purposes.
“The sharing of the building will be done carefully so as to protect the confidentiality and security requirements of the court,” says Mr Gibbs.
The Ōamaru Courthouse was closed in December 2011 after building inspections found it fell below minimum strength and safety standards. The Council has decided to strengthen the courthouse to at least 67% of the New Building Standard - the minimum is 34%.
Parties involved are working through the final details of the agreement. The strengthening work is expected to take 9-12 months and it is anticipated the court will be ready for use by the end of the year.
To read the Minister’s announcement:
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