Repairs to YMCA Auckland’s central city premises in Pitt Street will begin this week following storm damage which uncovered the presence of asbestos.

The stadium, which is more than 50 years old, has remained closed since the damage to ensure staff and public safety.

YMCA Auckland’s chief executive Peter Fergusson said the organisation has been working with experienced engineers and asbestos removal contractors to ensure the repairs are completed to WorkSafe standards.

“The stadium roof will be replaced, and we anticipate the stadium will be fully operational and reopened at the start of 2018.”

The building will be wrapped and air monitoring will be in place during the repair work. Remedial work will also be undertaken in other parts of the YMCA Auckland complex.

“While we were scoping the roofing project, it made sense to survey the rest of the complex which, like the stadium, is of an era when asbestos was used in building materials,” Fergusson said.

Air testing conducted throughout the complex has consistently returned clear results. However, small pockets of undisturbed and encapsulated asbestos were identified, primarily in non-public areas such as pipe lagging and minor items like the boards over fire alarms.

Those materials will be removed by licensed contractors and replaced, as will textured ceilings on four floors of the YMCA hostel which feature encapsulated asbestos.

“Health and safety is absolutely paramount for YMCA Auckland and we are working very closely with our specialist contractors to ensure both the public and our staff are completely protected during the work throughout the complex,” Fergusson said.

YMCA Auckland is providing staff and customers with regular updates regarding the project.

The stadium is one of only two indoor sports facilities in the city centre available to the general public, and its closure has meant a number of local sports leagues moved to other sites.

“The bulk of the sports leagues which used the complex moved to other sites in the interim – however we look forward to welcoming them back to an upgraded facility in time for the 2018 season.”

The cost for the entire project is likely to exceed $2 million. Charitable donations will help cover a portion of that cost and the YMCA will endeavour to raise funding for the remainder.

“In line with our long-term commitment to provide accessible community facilities and activities, YMCA Auckland has committed to this project rather than considering alternate site usage, and is determined to ensure that costs are not passed on to our members or facility users,” Fergusson said.