Oamaru’s new temporary court is due to be up and running in June after building consents were granted yesterday.
Work has now started to prepare the portacom court, which will be located at the Oamaru Licensing Trust’s carpark behind the Brydone Hotel on Humber St.
Courts Minister Chester Borrows said once ground works were completed, a number of prefabricated buildings would be delivered to the site.
“It is time to move the facilities to a purpose-built court and give the Opera House back to the people of Oamaru,” Mr Borrows said.
“The Opera House was never a long-term solution for court hearings, and I appreciate the patience and support of the Oamaru community while courts have operated from there.”
They were still working on the best solution for the old courthouse, which has been closed to the public since 2012 due to earthquake risk, he said.
“I know many in Oamaru are keen to know the future of the old courthouse.
“I hope to be in a position to give a more definitive answer in mid to late May,” Mr Borrows said.
Waitaki District Council regulatory services manager Lichelle Guyan said the Ministry of Justice would now start the process through their builders and the council would be doing regular inspections.
“It just goes through the normal process.
“We always try to make it as seemless as possible.”
Law firm Berry & Co Oamaru partner David Jackson said while he enjoyed the Opera House, it did have its limitations in terms of not having cells for those in custody, and it would be good to have a purpose-built facility.
“I think it is encouraging that the Ministry are prepared to commit to Oamaru continuing to have a court house.”
Court services taking place at the Work and Income offices will also be moved to the temporary court.
By RUBY HARFIELD
PHOTO: RUBY HARFIELD
WORK BEGINS: Local law firm Berry & Co Oamaru partner David Jackson said it was encouraging that the Ministry of Justice is committed to Oamaru continuing to have a court house.