Another 25 Tauranga City Council staff were yesterday relocated after more fungus was found in the administration building on Willow St.

In the past two weeks 328 of the council's 520 staff had been moved out of their workspaces because of tests confirming the presence of toxic black mould (stachybotrys) or a fungi called Chrysosporium.

Operation Clean project manager Terry Wynyard said the latest test results revealed an area with a high bacteria count which resulted in 25 staff being moved. They were relocated to the area near the council chambers which had been given the all clear.

Mr Wynyard said tests confirmed the main stairwell was contaminated with the bacteria.


Council staff were still waiting on results from 23 air samples, from the upper floor of the library building and the ground floor of the library to come back from the laboratory, he said. Samples from the Papamoa and Mount Maunganui libraries were also among those being waited on.

The fungus was not as toxic as the black mould found in the building but could still cause skin rashes, eye irritation and "a tickle in the throat", Mr Wynyard said. The clean-up was ahead of schedule with most of the carpet removed from the contaminated ground floor but it could take six months to identify the source of the leaks and replace any walls, ceilings or floors found to be contaminated.

Mr Wynyard said the council had signed a six-month lease on a building on Grey St which would better accommodate some staff and other offices were being sought.

Outside the council building, contractors began installing nets under the glass verandas which were yesterday named a hazard, communications manager Aimee Driscoll said.

"Back in June there was an injury at the Historic Village. As a result there were 100 sites that required safety audits. ...The glazing came back as one of the areas we needed to look at."

Thermal expansion and contraction had lessened the stability of the glass, she said.

There were cracks in 10 panes of the toughened glass so those sheets would be replaced next month. Until then the net would prevent pedestrians being injured by falling glass.