Toxic mould has been discovered behind the cladding of a council-owned building in Queenstown.
The former residential building at Ladies Mile was bought by the Queenstown Lakes District Council in 2019 for the strategic long-term value of the land.
Originally, there was no intention of reusing the existing house.
However, it was investigated to be retrofitted for use as an interim community centre for the Lake Hayes Estate and Shotover Country.
The council's sport and recreation manager, Simon Battrick, said removing the toxic mould would require the cladding to be replaced along all the windows and interior framing panels.
"This would add a significant remediation cost over and above the $3.66 million budget allocated by councillors in February to retrofit the existing building and create an interim community centre while we developed plans for a brand new multi-purpose facility."
More than 300 people attended a public open day earlier this year with some great suggestion on how the existing building could be adapted to meet the community's needs in the short term, Battrick said.
The issues with the cladding were discovered after an architect was hired during the design stage.
"Having got this far I naturally share the disappointment of the local community on this temporary setback but I'm also excited by the site's future potential.
"There was always going to be an element of compromise and building code compliance challenges in repurposing a family home to a community facility that could meet diverse local needs."
In the coming months, incoming councillors will be asked to consider installing temporary buildings or bringing forward a new build for a community centre as part of the council's next Long Term Plan.
"While the potential reuse of the existing building had been exciting, the risk of overinvesting in a poorly performing structure is too great.
If pursued, it would leave those communities worse off in the long run.
"We will continue to work closely with local groups including the Lake Hayes and Shotover Community Association on the next steps."
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