Waikato Regional Council is assessing dozens of office blocks around Hamilton to accommodate its growing operation after plans to build a new $34 million building in the city were shelved.
The regional council pays more than $600,000 a year in rent for 15 properties. Most of the money goes towards buildings in Hamilton because the council's headquarters at 401 Grey St is ill-equipped to house growing staff numbers and has leak problems, according to information released to the Herald under the Official Information Act.
But the seven extra buildings in Hamilton are not enough for the council's 416 staff and it is looking at leasing more properties to accommodate 33 new staff being employed from next month and to house existing staff while $1.6 million of remedial work is carried out on the leaky headquarters.
Last month the council shelved plans to build a $34 million headquarters on council-owned land on the corner of Cook and Grey Sts for two years after council chief executive Bob Laing said it should wait for the outcome of the local government reform before going ahead with it.
The council's corporate services manager, Junine Stewart, said the rationale for the council to develop a new building on one site was to reduce accommodation costs related to multiple services.
Already two short-term leases have been signed for buildings near the headquarters in Grey St while the leaky building is repaired and two more are being considered in Grey St and Beale St along with various other options around Hamilton.
A longer-term lease on a Victoria St premises has also been signed to address overspill and house new staff.
The council is also considering 12 large premises it could lease in central Hamilton for all its staff.
Meanwhile, the council is still searching for a site in or around Tuakau for the proposed northern depot which would focus on draining and flood protection.By Nikki Preston Email Nikki