Waitaki District Council confirmed yesterday that at this time it will not proceed further with negotiations to lease the former Oamaru RSA building.

Mayor Gary Kircher, said the decision to put the negotiations on hold came after conflicting legal advice highlighted some uncertainty around Council’s authority to lease the building.

“Council had proceeded with negotiations on the basis the building could be leased under Reserves Act 1977. However, there is a possibility the land and building could still be governed by historic legislation, the Oamaru Town Hall and Gas Works Sites and Recreation Reserves Vesting Act 1875, which has not been repealed. This old Act states that this land cannot be leased to anyone for any purpose. If correct, then this severely limits Council’s options for the property.”

Mayor Kircher said while the uncertainty remained, Council was taking a cautious approach by putting negotiations on hold until the authority to lease the building could be confirmed unequivocally. This will probably need to be resolved through an Act of Parliament process which may take a year or more.

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