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‘Time To Take It To Bits’: Town Clock Set For Shift, Refurbishment

Invercargill’s town clock is likely on the move, albeit about 23 metres.

The structure will remain in Wachner Place but be closer to Dee St as part of upgrades to Esk St West, where a new hotel is being built.

The developer, Distinction Hotels, has been working with Invercargill City Council on plans for the area which include a new lane for coaches through Wachner Place.

But because the clock was in a “very tight location”, according to the council report prepared for yesterday’s meeting, it needed to be shifted.

Most of the work required to connect Esk St West and Dee St for the bus lane would be paid for by the developer, with the council putting aside $4 million for street improvements, potential soil contamination and unforeseen requirements.

The Invercargill town clock is likely on the move, but will remain in Wachner Place where it is currently located. Photo credit: Matthew Rosenberg/LDR

The clock would also receive a major overhaul as part of the the relocation.

Council chief engineer infrastructure Russell Pearson said the clock needed to be taken out of its old structure in order to be repaired anyway.

“What we do know is that the clock mechanism needs some refurbishment.

“It’s been sitting there ticking away for 20 years and I guess it’s time to take it to bits and fix the bits.”

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The clock would be kept in as original of a condition as possible, much like restoring a vintage car, Pearson said.

Councillor Darren Ludlow expressed concern the bells would be reinstated, saying it created issues for accommodation in the area.

Pearson said the clock would be rebuilt with the capability of having the bells ring, but whether they did or not could be managed similar to how it was in the past.

Mayor Nobby Clark spoke favourably of the hotel's financial contribution and collaboration with the council for the Esk St West upgrade, saying it took away the risk of work not being done in time.

“The cost is a fraction of what was projected for that part of town,” he said.

Councillor Steve Broad was also complimentary of what he’d seen, saying he was excited when the plan came through.

“I think it shows that there really has been attention paid to some of the concerns raised throughout the Wachner Place submission process.”

Council said the clock would move approximately 23m in a plan which would align it to the west boundary line of Dee Street.

The full replacement of the clock structure, including the tower, would be covered by the developer.

It was expected the Esk St West upgrades would be completed in the second quarter of 2025.

An artists impression of the Esk St West upgrade, which features a new lane for coaches. Invercargill City Council.

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