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Preliminary Designs Released For Whangārei’s Civic Centre Project

Preliminary designs of Whangārei’s new civic building have been released to the public, and while many design elements are still being worked through and finalised with input from local Hapu, Whangārei Mayor Sheryl Mai is delighted by the progress.

“These designs show a wonderful symmetry with the Central Library,’ says Mayor Mai, ‘while connecting the surrounding green space of Cafler Park and Waiarohia Stream. Accessibility has always been at the top of the ‘needs’ list, and this preliminary design shows a welcoming, open entranceway with easy flow from the adjacent Shared Path, Central Business District, Library and Forum North, completing the new civic precinct.”

With all public services situated at ground level, the preliminary designs include a light-filled central atrium, a larger, more accessible customer-facing contact centre and ground-floor Council Chambers.

Along with the preliminary designs, news was released that local company Culham Engineering will be providing all structural steel components of the new build.

Alan Adcock, General Manager Corporate / CFO and Whangarei District Council Project Sponsor for the civic building, says working with Culham Engineering is in line with the project’s policy of partnering with local suppliers

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“We are working with a number of local consultants and contractors onsite, including Barfoote Construction, Treescape, Cuesko, Littoralis Landscape Architecture, Cato Bolam, Reyburn and Bryant and Culham Engineering. We’re also proud to be partnering with the NorthTec Apprenticeship programme, which allows for a minimum of 10% apprentices or trainees on the project site at any time.”

Other Whangārei contractors that have carried out works on site to date include McKay Electrical, Airzone, Gasworks & Plumbing, Northland Scaffold, and Traffic Management NZ. Main contractor Canam has also signed supply agreements with local suppliers for the project, including Carters Whangārei and Hirepool Whangārei, and are working closely with Northland Waste who will be managing all general waste from site and ensuring that recycle content targets are met.

At present, over 85% of suppliers and subcontractors engaged on the project are local, with an average of 22% local trainees and apprentices - well above the minimum target of 10%.

Adding to this, says Adcock, is the positive flow on effect of local trade around a construction project of this size.

Whangarei District Council first began looking at options for a new civic building in 2006, when it became clear the existing premises were not fit for purpose. A combination of district growth, organisational expansion, expenses incurred with renting additional office space and cost to develop existing offices made the need for a new civic building unavoidable. Flexible working arrangements that have been introduced due to COVID-19 have ben incorporated into the design thinking; which has focussed on adaptable working spaces that will work under many different scenarios.

Next steps in the Civic Centre Project include working through the final design elements with local hapu, presenting developed designs to Council, completion of demolition, moving through the consents process and into the construction phase by early December.

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