Delay for Justice and Emergency Service project

Completion of Christchurch’s $300 million Justice and Emergency Services precinct has been delayed for months, with the centre now not expected to open for business until late this year.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said today the centre would not be ready for business until the third quarter of 2017.

The handover of the huge building by Fletcher Construction had been planned for March 31, but the company has now put the hand-over date back to June 30 for the Justice Building.

The handover of the Emergency Services Building, which is part of the same central city complex, will take place on July 14. The complex also includes a car park for operational vehicles.

The building is close to the Bus Exchange, in the block bordered by Colombo, Tuam, Durham, and Lichfield Streets.

When it is fully running, an estimated 2000 people will work in or use the 42,000 sq m precinct each day.

Early in the building process, an indicative completion date of late 2016 with opening at Easter 2017, in April, had been spoken of as a possible opening date for the complex.

In April 2016, the Treasury’s Major Projects Performance Report on the progress of Canterbury’s recovery gave amber-green ratings to four programmes: infrastructure, schools, Burwood Hospital and the justice and emergency services precinct.

The rating meant delivery was probable, but needed “constant attention” to make sure risks did not become major issues. 

The Ministry of Justice spokesman said today: “The Precinct is the largest multi-agency government co-location project in New Zealand’s history.  It will help restore confidence in Christchurch as a vibrant city of which its people can be proud. This is an important and exciting initiative for the people of Christchurch and all New Zealanders.”

After the building hand-over, the tenants will begin the fit-out of their new spaces.

“Many of the spaces are complex and specialised, and support critical public services.  Because of their nature it is vital to ensure these areas are fully tested and functional before occupation occurs,” the spokesman said.

Christchurch District Courts, High Courts, and Family Courts are now housed at the Court House and the adjacent former Magistrate’s Court building in Durham Street and Armagh Street, near Victoria Square.

The Court House is owned by Ngai Tahu Property but is earmarked for sale to the not-for-profit science and technology centre Science Alive! It plans to develop the site once the courts have moved out.

The spokesman said the Ministry was now negotiating to extend its lease on the present Court House but it seems the courts will be able to continue to operate there until the move.

The spokesman said: “The Ministry does not expect there will be any cost, or business continuity risk for precinct agencies resulting from the revised hand-over date.”

The new precinct houses the Ministry of Justice, the police, external link offices for the Department of Corrections, Fire Service, St John Ambulance, and Civil Defence. Judges will also have their chambers in the precinct.

Project publicity said shared communications and a shared emergency operations centre would make co-ordinated responses to emergencies easier to achieve.


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