Let's hope for a deal on the courthouse
Waikato Times columnist Paul Barlow is right to be cranky over the state of the old Hamilton courthouse.
With historian Dr Ann McEwan, and Hamilton West MP Tim Macindoe, I've been trying over the past couple of years to get some action before the building disintegrates. However, it's more difficult than Mr Barlow thinks.
Tainui owns the land and the building belongs to the Ministry of Justice/Courts.
And yes, as Mr Barlow opines, it would make a wonderful art gallery.
Tainui does not want to sell its land, but wants to buy the building, restore it, then lease it back to the ministry at full commercial rates, reflecting its investment.
National MP Macindoe passed on a letter (September 23, 2013) from Minister for Courts Chester Borrows. The building, he wrote, was closed in 1993 and is deemed to be earthquake prone at 33 per cent of the new standard.
The ministry's current investment priorities are in Manukau, Dunedin and Christchurch, although it is looking at Waikato/Bay of Plenty requirements in the medium to long term.
Mr Borrows says he cannot be more definite on the long-term use of the courthouse.
Let's hope Tainui can persuade the ministry to do a deal.
Deputy mayor, Hamilton