Remedial work starts after rampage
Remedial work has begun on the Nelson building that contained VTNZ, the Tender Centre, and Norwest Light Engineering, as those businesses relocate to new properties.
The distinctive orange building, at 75 Vanguard St, was badly damaged in a fire started by Travis Ian Doel, 24, of Stoke, in March, as part of a six-hour rampage in which he also tried to take a Sounds Air plane.
Court documents from a March appearance said he drove to the Tender Centre and used a sledgehammer to smash his way into the building.
He had wanted to get his vehicle but it was not stored at the Tender Centre, so he set fire to paperwork in the office, the court heard.
The fire extensively damaged the building and the vehicles stored there.
Norwest Recycled Timber Ltd & Demolition, under subcontract from Duane Whiting Contractors, is now working on the building which also has an earthquake-prone building notice requiring strengthening or hazard removal by April 2026. The building is not listed as a heritage structure in the Nelson Resource Management Plan. It is unclear whether the building will be demolished or reinforced, and calls to the building's owner were not answered.
VTNZ general manager operations Greg O'Connor said the building's earthquake rating was below 20 per cent, so for safety reasons for its staff and customers it could not continue to operate there.
The landlord had looked at the option of bringing it up to an acceptable standard but was unable to do so to VTNZ's satisfaction and in the time frame it required, he said.
VTNZ has shifted along the road to 87 Vanguard St, a move that has meant changes in services and staffing.
Mr O'Connor said the main focus at the new premises was on doing checks on imported cars for the trade. It also continued to offer prepurchase vehicle inspections and relicensing. However, while it was still doing warrant of fitness testing, its customer reminders advised of its Pascoe St testing station which had been upgraded with an extra testing lane.
Two of its eight staff have been made redundant, a receptionist and an inspector, while five inspectors and a receptionist have been retained.
Tender Centre owner Neville Frost said his business, along with Norwest Light Engineering, was moving to a site on 29 Parkers Rd in Tahunanui after nearly 14 years in the Vanguard St location.
He expected it would take a couple of weeks for him "to get sorted" as there were a few alterations that were needed at the site.
The new location also meant cheaper rates, he said.
He had been working out of a shed on the former site until his insurance had come through.
"It's all good, I'm very excited; new premises, new beginnings."
The Nelson Mail