Whangārei's new $38 million civic centre will be built on the site of the old RSA in Rust Ave.
The Whangārei District Council bought the site from the RSA in 2017 for $3.4 million, and formally voted it as the site for the civic centre last week.
The RSA/Forum North precinct had already been identified as the area for the new build, but decision has confirmed the new civic centre will be constructed on the RSA site at 9 Rust Ave. It's expected to be finished by May 2022.
The council has been looking for a suitable site for a new civic centre for several years and also investigated building it on land in the CBD.
Whangārei Mayor Sheryl Mai is delighted that the decision has been made, saying it was an important move in the right direction.
'This decision will allow us to maintain positive momentum with the civic centre project,'' Mai said.
'We are long overdue in having one centralised location for all council staff and services. With this building, we will be able to deliver a more efficient service to our district, while providing facilities for community use.
''The confirmed location is ideal, creating a civic precinct with the Central Library and Capitaine Bougainville Theatre, and with easy access to the city centre and shared paths. This is a positive move for us all and one we will all benefit from.''
Also confirmed at the Whangārei District Council meeting was the project governance and management model. Councillors Tricia Cutforth and Shelley Deeming were appointed to the project steering committee.
Alan Adcock, general manager corporate/chief financial officer, is also very pleased with the outcome of the council meeting.
'The decisions made at this meeting will allow us to continue the flow of the project, bringing us closer to breaking ground and beginning construction. Our focus now is on the planning and design process to deliver a fit-for-purpose building, suited to both council and public requirements,'' Adcock said.
Civic Centre Project key points:
- May 2022 complete construction
- $37.9m total budget, including purchase of land, labour, project management, materials, design, landscaping and construction
- 350 staff to be working in the new Civic Centre
Last month the council bought a prime block of inner-city land for $5m.
The council says the two significant land purchases will contribute to a more vibrant city centre and waterfront, and put ratepayers in a good position to manage a large increase in visitors when the Hundertwasser Art Centre is completed.
The blocks of land are between John and James Sts, across the road from the new Town Basin park and the Hundertwasser Art Centre, Wairau Maori Art Gallery development and the carpark at 45 James St, which will ensure the council has control of more parking spaces in the area.
Previous owners of the 62-72 James St and 57-71 John St block, Neil Properties Limited, gave the council first right of refusal on the properties. The council approved the $5m purchase of 62-72 James St and 57-71 John St at its February meeting and settlement was completed at the end of March. Rateable value for the sites was a combined $4.96m.