Temporary Dargaville-based customer service centre open

13 Mar 2020, 7:58 AM

The doors have opened at a temporary Dargaville-based office the Northland Regional Council (NRC) plans to operate from until a new purpose-built facility it plans to share with its Kaipara District Council counterpart is constructed.

Regional Council Chair Penny Smart says the interim office – at 100 Victoria St opposite Blah Blah Blah café – was formally blessed in a low-key event in the lead up to the recent Northland Field Days, with the roughly dozen attendees including Kaipara Mayor Jason Smith.

The approximately 80 square metre office has a fulltime customer services officer and is initially housing five of the NRC’s Kaipara-based Land and Biosecurity staff.

As well as general advice and referrals on a range of regional council matters, the office also offers advice on pest plant and animal management and has a limited supply of associated traps and other controls for sale.

Chair Smart – who is also the regional council’s Kaipara constituency representative – says as well as office space, the Dargaville facility has a meeting room with space for up to 10 people.

“My fellow regional councillors and I are pleased to see this temporary facility open; it’s already being quite well-used by Kaipara locals and we hope this community support will continue.”

The regional council intends to operate from the Victoria St centre until it develops a proposed purpose-built modern Hokianga Rd complex that will eventually house up to 80 local authority staff (about a dozen NRC operational field staff and 65 KDC staff).

The regional council shifted from its previous long-standing base (further down Victoria St) into the KDC’s existing Hokianga Rd headquarters in mid-2016, but in more recent times only two regional council staff had been able to work from there due to limited space.

However, with the regional council from 2018 substantially boosting its efforts to help native life flourish, care for water and protect communities from flood risk, a decision had been made to relocate back to the Victoria St area in the interim.

The regional council hopes the interim move will enable it to deliver a better standard of customer service while at the same time providing for more field staff – including those already living in the area and with valuable local knowledge – to work from Dargaville.

Meanwhile, the NRC says expressions of interest are currently being sought from construction companies for its proposed Hokianga Rd facility.

All going well, construction of the modern two storey building could be underway later this year and finished late in 2021.

The regional council paid $465,000 for the 1235 square metre property at 32 Hokianga Rd from its Property Reinvestment Fund in late 2017 and early last year publicly revealed plans for the ‘fit-for-purpose’ customer service centre that would form part of its wider investment property portfolio.