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Plans for building development on hold


MEDIA RELEASE

Plans for building development on hold

For immediate release: Tuesday 19 July 2005

Environment Bay of Plenty has put on hold proposals for a building development across the road from its main headquarters in Whakatane.

Earlier this year, the regional council asked an architectural team to draft plans for a viable commercial development next to the Commercial Hotel in Strand East.

The regional council owns the 6500m2 site, which fronts onto both Strand East and Toroa Street. It incorporates the historic Commercial Hotel and the building alongside it, which was built in the early 1930s. The council initially considered renovating this adjoining building but the option was ruled out because of renovation and compliance costs and other practical difficulties.

Environment Bay of Plenty chairman John Cronin says councillors originally considered seven options for accommodating growing staff numbers in Whakatane. The preferred choice was a new, four-storey building.

However, the finance and corporate services committee voted at a meeting on Thursday 14 July to defer its plans. “After discussion, we decided to put the project on hold because of the capital costs involved in developing the site, the commitment we have made to other projects, and the recent budget and rating increases,” he explains.

Mr Cronin pointed out that the council will still need more office space in the future. “The demands on our role as a regional council are likely to increase so long as the Bay of Plenty’s population continues to grow. While this growth may not directly impact on the eastern Bay of Plenty, we are a regional organisation and so therefore will need to respond to the demands this regional growth will present.”

The council is also considering other issues related to its presence in Whakatane, including the possibility of free-holding the Quay St site on which its main building stands. Mr Cronin says this would allow Environment Bay of Plenty to take “a wider view” of its accommodation requirements in Whakatane and the opportunities offered by the Commercial Hotel site.

The architectural partnership of Ian K Carter Limited and Warren & Mahoney will be retained to help with this process and any developments that may come of it.

Last year, Environment Bay of Plenty announced plans to build a new office complex at Sulphur Point in Tauranga. At the moment, staff work from a rented building in Rata St, Mount Maunganui. Environment Bay of Plenty has a third office in Rotorua.

ENDS

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