Justice Minister Andrew Little joined Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher in Oamaru today to reopen the historic courthouse. The building was classed as earthquake prone in 2011 requiring local court services to relocate to temporary premises.
The 1883 building constructed in local whitestone, features a temple-front portico complete with Corinthian columns.
The Waitaki District Council took the lead on restoring the building which the Ministry has now leased back, enabling the return of courts services and providing a community facility. When the courthouse is in use as a hearing centre, the Ministry will set up the room as the court with its furniture and portable technology to set up audio visual links and speaker systems. When it is not in use as a courthouse, the community will be able to access this building for events.
The building has undergone significant strengthening with steel strengthening rods installed throughout the building and a new roof. Internally, the space has been reconfigured to create spaces expected in a modern courthouse such as private interview rooms, as well receiving security and technology upgrades.
Mr Little says he’s delighted at the progress that that has been made by Council on the strengthening and refurbishment. “It is fantastic to see such a wonderful facility remain an integral part of the community.”
The Ministry looks forward to delivering services for the people of Oamaru from this locally significant building which is now much more fit for purpose, and is working with council to finalise a return date.