SHARE
Vacant . . . The North Otago RSA building in Itchen St. PHOTO: DANIEL BIRCHFIELD

Discussions are continuing between a potential commercial tenant and the Waitaki District Council over the future of the North Otago Returned and Services Association building.
The council took over ownership of the building after the dissolution of the North Otago RSA in late 2014.
In December 2015, asbestos was discovered in the Itchen St building’s lower floor, and a project to remove it was completed in June.
The council had a budget of $180,000 for the asbestos removal and associated works, which included removing the asbestos removal and turning the back to a shell in order to prepare it for future use.
In May, Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher said the costs involved in preparing the building for a new tenant would probably preclude community groups that had expressed an interest in using the space.
Recouping the costs would probably require a commercial tenant, he said at the time.
While a commercial tenant has yet to be found, it is believed Trustpower, which has a call centre based in lower Thames St, has expressed a desire to relocate its Oamaru operation into the building.
Trustpower facilities and workstyle manager Catherine Gee confirmed the Tauranga-based electricity provider was in negotiations with the council about a potential move.
“Trustpower is considering its future work environment and building needs in Oamaru and as part of that, is in conversation with Waitaki District Council. Trustpower has made no decision to date, and is not in a position to comment on timeframe at this stage.”
Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher said the council was “making progress” in regards to finding a tenant for the building, but declined to comment further.
The North Otago RSA went into liquidation in December 2014 after an attempt to trade its way out of financial difficulty failed.
The service still has a presence in Oamaru, in the form of the Waitaki District RSA Welfare Trust.