Fate of courthouse still hanging in the balance

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The fate of the Oamaru courthouse is still not known, as there are many options to consider, the Courts Minister says.

An announcement was made by Minister for Courts Chester Burrows on Tuesday, stating Oamaru would be getting a purpose-built portacom court until decisions could be made about the future of the court.

They were still in discussion with various groups such as Ngāi Tahu, the Oamaru Whitestone Civic Trust and the Waitaki District Council about possibilities for the building, he said.

A number of options were being considered, such as the sale of the courthouse to one of these entities, a treaty resolution with Ngāi Tahu or Government-funded refurbishments on the building, Mr Burrows said.

He would be making recommendations on the options to Cabinet early next year, he said.

“The ministry has not abandoned Oamaru.”

Oamaru Whitestone Civic Trust chairman Marcus Brown said he had not heard from the ministry yet but he was pleased the Government was being supportive.

He would ideally like the courthouse to be used again but the trust did not have the funds to repair the building, he said.

“The building was obviously designed as a court and should be run as a court.”

By RUBY HARFIELD