Discussions needed over temporary court

SHARE

Discussions are continuing over the location and time frame for the temporary court scheduled to arrive in Oamaru in February.

In December, the Minister for Courts Chester Borrows announced Oamaru would be receiving a portacom court transported from Christchurch.

The court, which would be temporary, was used in Christchurch following the February 2011 earthquake and came with holding cells.

The portacom court was expected to be in operation around February this year providing a site had been found and consents granted, Mr Borrows said in December.

Waitaki District Council chief executive Michael Ross said the council had been in discussions with the Ministry of Justice about possibly using the Eden St Carpark but nothing had been finalised.

“We need to have more detailed discussions.”

The Ministry of Justice wanted to know whether council were prepared to assist in organising a space for the court, he said.

“Of course we are prepared to assist, as long as we can have some hope that the court will be used again.”

Waitaki District Mayor Gary Kircher said they had been looking at a few different options but the Eden St carpark was the main location being considered.

However, he thought there were a few logistical issues with having the court set up there.

They had a rough idea of the overall space but they needed to work out how much space it will take up and how much impact it would have on businesses and parking in the area.

Wherever the court ended up, it was going to be good to have it moved out of the Oamaru Opera House, the mayor said.

“The ongoing use of the Opera House was not an ideal situation for them, or for us.”

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice said, as they were still working through the final details, they were not able to publically comment on which site was most likely to be used.

Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean said she had talked to Mr Borrows who was committed to getting the temporary court up and running.

“He is absolutely committed to getting the court services out of the Opera House as quickly as possible.”

Oamaru Whitestone Civic Trust chairman Marcus Brown said to date they had not been approached by the Ministry of Justice in regards to the old court building which was closed in 2011 as it posed an earthquake risk.

“It is up to [the Ministry of Justice] how they choose to organise it – we have not been involved at all,” he said.

By RUBY HARFIELD