A Whangārei district councillor has hit out at the length of time being taken to start restoring the town's fire-ravaged old town hall.
"What's taken so long? It's ridiculous," Carol Peters said at a recent Whangārei District Council (WDC) sub-committee meeting.
Fire badly damaged the 107-year-old building in Bank St in October. It's been plastic-wrapped and the social services it housed have been relocated. No date's yet been set for the rebuild - 10 months later.
Sandra Boardman, WDC general manager - community, said it wasn't yet possible to put a date on the rebuild's start.
There was still work to be done to reaching that point. She said the insurance report on the damaged building would be with the council before the end of the month.
The building's age and heritage meant it was a complex case to deal with. The insurance company had taken on an architect to contribute to building a picture of the repair work needed.
The building has Group B historic building classification. Boardman said the old town hall's age also meant extra work to bring it up to today's building code standards.
She said the council would consider the insurance report once it was received. Further work would follow, its nature dependent on the report's contents.
The old town hall was home to several social service agencies including the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), Dyslexia Plus, Epilepsy Association of New Zealand, Northland Multiple Sclerosis Society Incorporated, Literacy Whangārei Volunteering Northland, Whangārei Migrant Centre and Women International Newcomers Group (WINGS).
The CAB has moved next door into the old Public Trust building, while the others have moved to WDC facilities in the city's civic arcade.
Peters said it was important for Whangārei's health the social services could return and re-establish the building as a community social service hub as soon as possible.
"Not having the building's community social services together in the old town hall, particularly at a time when the community has had to deal with so much, has been difficult for Whangārei," she said.
Peters, a community advocate, said the old town hall was of special interest to her - she was married in the hall once located at the back of the former municipal building in 1966.