Coun­cil de­lays de­ci­sion on $7.7m up­grade


‘‘Coun­cil­lors are very aware that some­thing has to be done but we are also very aware that we want to bring rates to an af­ford­able level.’’

A $7.7 million build­ing up­grade has been de­layed while Porirua City Coun­cil looks for ways to live within its means.

The multi-million-dol­lar project planned to add 360sqm to the coun­cil’s 50-year-old cen­tral city build­ing that cur­rently houses 176 staff.

At a meet­ing on Wed­nes­day, the coun­cil was asked to ap­prove plans that would see de­sign and ten­der­ing be­gin im­me­di­ately but asked for more time and op­tions.

Coun­cil­lor Ross Leggett called for ‘‘other op­tions to be con­sid­ered that best re­flect liv­ing within our means’’ and asked the de­ci­sion be de­layed un­til Novem­ber 22.

On Thurs­day, he said that although the op­tions were rea­son­able, the coun­cil­lors wanted to see if they could do bet­ter.

‘‘Coun­cil­lors are very aware that some­thing has to be done but we are also very aware that we want to bring rates to an af­ford­able level.’’

He hoped a de­ci­sion would be made next month.

The up­grade, named Project Rejig, is the re­sult of a re­cent re­port ex­plor­ing five op­tions to re­place or re­fur­bish the build­ing.

With op­tions rang­ing from a $16.5m new build­ing to a $2.6m ‘‘en­vi­ron­ment com­fort’’ re­fur­bish­ment, the re­port rec­om­mended the $7.7m spend.

It found some parts of the build­ing were over­crowded with 176 staff work­ing in an ad­e­quate space for 155 and another 25 work­ers in rented ac­com­mo­da­tion off-site at a cost of $160,000 a year.

New car­pet, fur­ni­ture and light­ing are on the list, as well as a ren­o­va­tion of the build­ing’s toi­lets and heat­ing, ven­ti­la­tion and cool­ing sys­tem. Mayor Mike Tana said the im­pact on ratepay­ers would be ‘‘min­i­mal’’ with money from un­al­lo­cated projects and the sale of a coun­cil build­ing pay­ing for most of the project.

‘‘When we’re talk­ing $7.7m, there’s al­ready $5m there and there are off-sets if we bring ev­ery­one into that build­ing.’’

He agreed money needed to be spent on the build­ing to bring it up to a safe stan­dard for staff.

‘‘The prob­lem with a lot of coun­cils is they de­fer a lot of stuff be­cause they want to look good but I have to bite the bul­let on this.’’

The coun­cil con­sulted on the project as part of the 2017/2018 plan and, of the 57 peo­ple who sub­mit­ted on the build­ing project, 31 sup­ported an up­grade and 26 did not.

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