Councillor’s More info’ bid rejected
A proposal to delay relocating council staff, raised at Tuesday’s extraordinary council meeting, was rejected because the possible risk to staff was deemed too great.
Councillor John Boddy requested air quality tests to prove staff are at risk of exposure to asbestos inside their workplace, before the council committed ratepayers’ money to relocation costs.
‘‘If we decide to build off-site and this building is still workable, although there are some repairs that have to be done, why are we going to leave and have the cost of leasing outside this property and at an additional expense to ratepayers?
Councillor Rosanne Jollands supported Boddy’s bid to delay the signing of leases, saying the decision affected the rebuild-or-repair consultation process.
‘‘Regardless of your ultimate decision of what you do with this building, staff have to leave this building.’’
Council chief executive Gareth Green said the decision on whether to leave the building or not was his decision, not councillors’.
‘‘Regardless of your ultimate decision of what you do with this building, staff have to leave this building,’’ he said.
At the start of the meeting, Green tabled a new report from an asbestos-monitoring company, that had done a follow-up survey of the building on Thursday May 11.
The report recommended about 150sqm of wall cladding be removed by a licensed contractor. It recommended about 140sqm of soffits and eaves be encapsulated with paint and reinspected periodically.
Pre-empting Boddy’s request for air monitoring, the contractor also tested for the presence of asbestos fibres in the air at three locations outside the building and at one location in the building’s foyer, for two hours.
No asbestos was detected in the air, the report said. However, asbestos fibres were found on the ground outside the building near exposed wall cladding sections.
Green said the fact that there was asbestos in the soil outside the building meant that asbestos had fallen and had been in the air at some point in time.
Therefore, the sites posed a health risk to staff that necessitated the relocation, he said.
Councillor Boddy and Jollands voted to delay the signing of leases, but the majority of councillors opposed the motion.
* Public consultation on the new building at taupodc.govt.nz until May 26.