Potential noise and vibrations from Whangārei's $48 million new civic centre build is a concern to Northland's largest community pathology laboratory.

Remeny Weber, manager of Northland Pathology Laboratory, said movement could potentially interfere with the accuracy of its millions of dollars of extremely delicate analytical testing equipment.

Eight months' demolition and foundation work for Whangārei District Council's controversial new civic centre is scheduled to begin next month. This includes putting large building support piles more than 20m into the ground for the up to 21m-high building.

The September to April phase is forecast to bring the two-year build's biggest noise and vibration impacts. It starts with demolishing the old RSA buildings.


Northland Pathology Laboratory has two sites near the 9 Rust Ave civic centre build. The first is at number 11, immediately alongside the site, where blood and other samples are taken. The other is at number 24, immediately opposite the new build, where sophisticated analyses using millions of dollars of finely calibrated equipment is done.

"We're looking at blood films, looking at a single cell level and taking a digital image with highly sensitive equipment," Weber said.

She raised her concerns at WDC's new civic centre build's first neighbourhood meeting, held at Forum North on Monday night.

Weber said attending the meeting had been reassuring. The council had factored vibration impacts into build planning.

"I'll have to trust the process."

The business collects about 1400 blood and other samples from across Northland daily.
These are almost all analysed at its 24 Rust Ave lab - the region's single (non district health board) hub for this community pathology work. It runs the region's biggest community pathology laboratory business, doing about 200 types of tests onsite and beyond when needed, to help diagnose, confirm and/or monitor people's health status.

She said access was a concern for those coming to 11 Rust Ave to have their samples taken. Its parking is on a shared lane which is to become the main build site vehicle access route.

Weber will soon meet Adam Farrell, senior site project manager, to look first-hand at the issue.

Whangārei's new $48 million civic centre will be built on the old Whangārei RSA site to the right of this picture. Noise from the construction could disturb neighbours for months.
Whangārei's new $48 million civic centre will be built on the old Whangārei RSA site to the right of this picture. Noise from the construction could disturb neighbours for months.

A month's demolition will start in September after detailed asbestos analysis being done on the old RSA buildings. The asbestos is thought to be in the flooring and roof.

"The asbestos is nothing we wouldn't expect from buildings of that age," Farrell said.

Potential vibration and construction noise can be expected between 8am and 5pm Monday to Friday, the council neighbourhood meeting flyer said.

But those at the meeting heard some types of work would continue outside those hours and overnight as required - such as at times when heavy and large pieces of the construction build needed to come from off site.

Bruce MacPherson, a Second Ave homeowner living about 170m from the building, went to the meeting because he was worried about noise, particularly during demolition and piling.

"We could hear the bands playing at the RSA on Saturday nights [from our place]," MacPherson said.


The meeting had been worthwhile, but there were still a lot of unknowns, including exactly how loud demolition and building noise would be, he said.

Alan Adcock, WDC general manager corporate, said, "Building is a messy process, in spite of best-laid plans there will be things that go on that disturb. If things are going wrong, tell us, we want to be good neighbours."

The public will be able to check civic centre building site development via a time-lapse camera linked to WDC's website from today.