Tenant secured for old Ōtaki courthouse
The historic courthouse building in Main Road (SH1) Ōtaki is to become a local arts centre.
Council’s Environment and Community Development Committee has approved a recommendation from the Ōtaki Community Board that the heritage building be leased to the Artscape Art and Craft Cooperative.
The selection followed a request for expressions of interest from community groups keen to lease the space, the former home of the Ōtaki i-SITE.The i-SITE closed at the end of June.
The timeframe for applications was extended when few were received but, by the 10 July deadline, four community organisations had expressed an interest in leasing the heritage-status building.
They included the Artscape Art and Craft Cooperative, the Otaki Promotions Group, the Courthouse Arts Centre and Telegraph Road Limited.
Community Board Deputy Chair Rob Kofoed, who was on the evaluation panel, says it was a tough decision but he believes the art cooperative is a good fit.
“We were seeking a tenant associated with an activity that would involve and benefit the community and be a drawcard for visitors. We are confident we have the right tenant in Artscape.”
The Artscape Art and Craft Cooperative consists of local artists and craftspeople who display and sell their art. They currently operate at Hyde Park Village, Te Horo and generate income out of sales of their work. Rob Kofoed says the group will make good use of the old courthouse space.
”The cooperative is going to use the site to display art and crafts, to promote local artists and craftspeople and to run workshops and demonstrations. The space will also be used to promote Ōtaki and sell Kāpiti-made products and themed items, such as postcards and calendars.”
The lease is for a year from October 1 with two rights of renewal for a year. Due to the community benefit expected to result from the lease, the nature of the building and the fact Artscape is a new tenant, a rent of $1 a year will initially be charged. This will be reviewed at the end of the first year, in line with current fees and charges.
At its meeting of 16 October 2014 the Kāpiti Coast District Council made a decision to close the Ōtaki i-SITE at the end of June 2015. A comprehensive survey found the i-SITE was no longer economic and it was felt more exciting and efficient ways could be developed to deliver visitor information in the area. That process is well underway.
Because the old courthouse is a heritage building and valued community asset, Council wanted to ensure its continued use.