Demolition among options

AVAILABLE SPACE: A buyer is being sought for Waimate's old post office.
AVAILABLE SPACE: A buyer is being sought for Waimate's old post office.

Waimate's old post office is on the market.

Waimate District Council has called for expressions of interest in the purchase of the building which houses the visitors information centre.

The council has called for responses under the condition the building either be upgraded to meet 67 per cent of the new building standard, or be demolished and replaced with a commercial building within 12 months.

Council property manager Sue Kelly said the property would go to tender if multiple expressions of interest were registered.

If a single expression of interest was registered, a sale and purchase agreement would be drawn up with conditions approved by the chief executive.

Ms Kelly said the council was assessing its options and would not comment further.

Preliminary earthquake inspections had shown damage to the building and the chimney was then removed. Internal damage was reported following a 4.9 magnitude quake on September 1, 2011. There had been some movement of internal walls.

Meanwhile, an engineer will assess the former Waimate courthouse for structural soundness.

It follows a transfer of ownership proposal of the courthouse from the Department of Conservation (DOC) to the council, then to the Waimate Historical Society.

The society had expressed concerns regarding the vesting of the building and requested an earthquake assessment. Its letter was forwarded to DOC.

Ms Kelly said it would be down to DOC to determine what action would be undertaken following the engineer's report.

Mayor John Coles had previously expressed concerns about the situation with ageing buildings and earthquake codes. He hoped the post office building would be fully used if it was sold.

Details about the future of the visitors information centre had not been discussed. The council would be interested in leasing some of the building if it sold.

The former Waimate courthouse was a waiting game, he said. "The ultimate thing is that we don't want to leave the Waimate Historical Society with a lemon; there's no point guessing until we get an engineer's report."

The Timaru Herald