Council faces big bill for its crowded home
A potential multi-million-dollar decision is looming over the home of the Porirua City Council.
It’s been about two decades since the civic administration building at Cobham Court had a big internal spruce-up, and a recent report prepared for the council by engineering firm Xigo found it was overcrowded in parts and had a below-par ventilation system.
The consultants put forward five options ranging from doing the bare minimum for about $2.5 million, up to a whole new building which could cost $16.5 million.
The council deferred making a decision on what to do with the 50-year-old building during an annual plan meeting on June 8, with Mayor Mike Tana moving that the project instead be considered this time next year as part of the long-term plan 2018–2038.
The significant costs meant the council did not want ‘‘to lock in something before exploring other options’’, Tana said.
He was not aware of any major complaints about staff working conditions. And while they needed to be looked after, it was important not to rush a decision that could potentially cost the city $16 million.
‘‘Whatever we land on, we’ve got to own it.’’
Key findings from Xigo’s report included that, along with tired decor, the office layout would no longer suit a good working environment, while the heating and ventilation system badly needed an upgrade.
Some parts of the building were overcrowded with 176 staff filling a building that had adequate space for 155.
Another 25 had to be based in rented accommodation off-site at a cost of $160,000 a year.
Some ceilings and partitions did not meet current seismic codes because they were unrestrained.
The report recommended the council spend $7.5 million to refurbish the building and expand the second and third floors to cater for all staff.
This option would raise the building to the same level as Upper Hutt City Council but still below that of Kapiti Coast District Council or Hutt City Council.
Council chief executive Wendy Walker said management would continue to ensure staff work in the best possible environment.
‘‘Budget constraints aren’t anything new. We will work within the parameters the council has given to ensure health and safety of all staff is a priority.’’
Porirua City Council’s civic administration building at Cobham Court in Porirua originally opened in 1967.