Oamaru's historic courthouse to be disposed of

By Rebecca Ryan

The Oamaru Court House, seen here in 1883, is to be disposed of after it was deemed an earthquake risk. Photo: North Otago Museum
The Oamaru Court House, seen here in 1883, is to be disposed of after it was deemed an earthquake risk. Photo: North Otago Museum

The historic Oamaru Courthouse is to be disposed of, a decision that has been greeted with surprise and disappointment in the town.

The cost of earthquake-strengthening the 130-year-old building, estimated at between $1 million and $2 million was too high for a court that was open for business less than one day each week, on average, Courts Minister Chester Borrows announced yesterday.

Ownership of the building, in the centre of Oamaru which has sat vacant since December 2011, will now be transferred to Land Information New Zealand for disposal.

Linz will consult Ngai Tahu as to whether it wants to exercise its right of first refusal under the Ngai Tahu Claims Settlement Act (1988).

Once Ngai Tahu has formally responded to this request, Linz will arrange for the disposal of the site, either to Ngai Tahu or on the open market.

When the building was identified as an earthquake risk, court hearings were held in the Oamaru Opera House while options for the category one listed building were investigated.

Next month, court hearings will move to a portable facility in the Oamaru Licensing Trust car park.

The ministry says it will look for a more permanent solution in Oamaru.

- Otago Daily Times

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