Plans to carry out seismic strengthening and upgrades of the Whakatāne District Council Civic Centre building are progressing.
A report going to the Projects and Services Committee today, will seek approval for recommendations for building improvements for the work that is expected to commence later this year.
The strengthening work will allow the continued use of the building as a Civil Defence emergency operation centre, which requires a higher level of earthquake resistance and must meet legal requirements to enable the Council to maintain continuity of service in the event of an earthquake.
Council is also considering this as an opportunity to modernise the building which has had no significant upgrades since it was built in 1989.
Whakatāne District Council General Manager Community Services, Mike Naude says the building has largely met staff and community needs, but the demands on it are changing and it no longer meets expectations.
“The seismic strengthening work provides an opportunity to remodel the building within the existing footprint, including renewed public areas, upgraded bathroom facilities and an improved working environment that features additional meeting rooms and collaborative work spaces,” he says. “This seismic strengthening and upgrade work will better enable us to meet community and staff needs.”
Through an internal engagement process during the past 18 months, staff raised health and safety concerns regarding the ambient temperature inside the building, particularly in summer and winter. Air-conditioning will be installed as part of this project to provide comfortable, year-round temperatures.
Following a number of studies and reports on strengthening options for the building, the Council included the project in the 2018-2028 Long Term Plan.
An additional $500,000 was allocated in the 2019/20 Annual Plan to meet the total cost of delivering the project. The Council has budgeted just over $3 million for the overall work.