A proposed $8.4m Kaipara complex that would house up to 80 local authority staff from two different councils is being hailed as a sign of ongoing confidence in Dargaville's future.
The proposed Hokianga Rd building would be developed by the Northland Regional Council and about a dozen of its field staff would also be based there.
Additionally, the Kaipara District Council with about 65 of its staff would also be a key tenant.
Regional Council chief executive Malcolm Nicolson and his Kaipara District counterpart Louise Miller say given the two councils already had a mutual ratepayer base and shared office space in Hokianga Rd, it made sense to serve those ratepayers from a single purpose-built modern site.
"It will be a prudent investment in Dargaville and a sign of our mutual confidence in – and commitment to – the area's future," Nicolson said.
"It's also a practical way council can help deliver on one of our key community outcomes; contributing to a strong regional economy."
The regional council shifted from its previous long-standing Victoria St base into the existing KDC building in Hokianga Rd in mid-2016.
Currently only two regional council staff are able to work from there, with others commuting from Whangārei.
Nicolson says the NRC was significantly extending its field operations around Northland, including Kaipara, with up to a dozen staff expected to be working from Dargaville within the next couple of years.
The regional council also needed a public service centre, a workshop and specialised storage.
An additional wash-down area for vehicles and equipment is required to help ensure high biosecurity standards and reduce the risk of spreading disease like kauri dieback and Mycoplasma bovis.
Miller says a move to the proposed building would be a win-win as it's a strong financial decision for the small rating base of Kaipara.
"The relocation would also enable the resulting vacated district council property to be redeveloped for other services and allow for remediation of a building that's not currently fit for purpose," Kaipara council's chief executive said.
"This working together allows for future opportunities to work closer in the future."
Kaipara District Council members have given their blessing to the new shared building concept.
Miller and Nicolson are now working to finalise potential lease details before Northland Regional Council members consider the final design, costings and lease details.
The regional council paid $465,000 for the 1235 square metre property at 32 Hokianga Rd from its Property Reinvestment Fund in late 2017.
In January last year, council revealed plans for a fit-for-purpose customer service centre that would form part of its wider investment property portfolio.
Although the district council's potential involvement had not been confirmed at that point, the regional council said then it viewed such a development as strategic and longer-term investment in both Dargaville and the wider Kaipara area due to its proximity to both Whangārei and Auckland.
Construction of the modern two-storey building could be underway early next year and finished early in 2021, subject to approval from the new regional council in place after the local body elections in October.