Pub shut, building deemed dangerous
The Kaikohe Hotel is closed for business. The ageing hotel is deemed a fire risk and nobody is allowed to enter.
The Far North District Council evacuated the building last week as a "last measure".
Councillor Sally Macauley says the hotel is in a sad state and the closure was the right thing to do.
The hotel looks to be in a state of mid-renovation, mid-demolition and general disrepair. Ms Macauley says the look of the building and its reputation are not what the town needs.
She's been spearheading a community run initiative to improve Kaikohe's lot by trying to improve the aesthetics of the downtown business district along Broadway.
Justice Kit Toogood ordered the closure last week.
He says that the hotel's current proprietor Neal Summers did not appear in court and the building's owner Cameron Enterprises Limited was only represented informally by Frances MacCulloch.
Judge Toogood doubted the defendants would abide by his ruling and predicted the council and police would need to intervene.
It was the council and not Mr Summers who shuttered the building.
Mr Summers has since told the council he plans to reopen the downstairs bar, but not the upstairs accommodation, which poses the greatest fire risk.
The council has arranged for the NZ Fire Service to inspect the hotel this week. The two reports will then go back to the High Court which will decide whether to lift the order to close the building.
Five people vacated the hotel earlier in the week. The council has provided alternative accommodation for one boarder at its Kaikohe pensioner flats.
Council communications manager Richard Edmondson says problems with the hotel date back several years.
"Council has had ongoing Building Act compliance issues with the Kaikohe Hotel since 2006 and has served several notices to fix on Mr Summers and Cameron Enterprises," he says.
"It warned Cameron Enterprises when it issued a notice to fix in July 2011 that they needed to apply for a building consent and provide a fire safety report."
Mr Edmondson says the council repeated its request in July 2012, but still hadn't received a valid building consent application, fire report or current building warrant of fitness when it served Building Act notices on Summers and Cameron Enterprises in November.
Mr Edmondson says the council is required to ensure the building is safe for occupants.
The Fire Service inspected the building and described it as dangerous.