Rent hike no fun for Kids at Play

Central Leader - - News - By Heather McCracken

A Mt Eden day­care cen­tre may be forced to in­crease charges to meet a 24 per­cent rates hike de­manded by Auck­land City Coun­cil.

The Kids at Play cen­tre’s plea for rates re­lief was turned down by the com­mu­nity ser­vices com­mit­tee last week.

Par­ent Don­nell Alexan­der says the de­ci­sion is dis­ap­point­ing.

“We feel that we’re to­tally pow­er­less in this sit­u­a­tion. We couldn’t af­ford to get a lawyer to go against the mar­ket rent re­view to start with. We can’t just up sticks and go some­where else.”

The cen­tre owns the Bell­wood Ave build­ing but rents the land from the coun­cil.

Rent was in­creased af­ter a sched­uled re­view car­ried out by an in­de­pen­dent val­uer.

Fam­i­lies have al­ready faced a 5 per­cent in­crease this year, and are fundrais­ing to com­plete es­sen­tial main­te­nance on the 100-year-old build­ing.

Re­source con­sent has been ap­proved and work needs to go ahead, Ms Alexan­der says.

“We can’t not do it, so our only op­tion will be to look at putting up charges.”

At the meet­ing coun­cil­lor Richard Northey tried to have the rent held at the pre­vi­ous level while the coun­cil’s leas­ing pol­icy is re­viewed.

“I think it’s bet­ter to ap­ply a lower lease un­til we get a re­port in March to sort this out,” he said.

But mem­bers voted to con­firm mar­ket rates, while also call­ing for a re­port on anom­alies in the coun­cil’s lease pol­icy.

Chair­man Paul Gold­smith said the “hig­gledyp­ig­gledy” sys­tem needs re­view­ing.

“We need to tidy up the anom­alies go­ing for­ward, and make it clear that the coun­cil shouldn’t be in a hap­haz­ard man­ner sub­si­dis­ing some child­care cen­tres and not oth­ers.”

Coun­cil­lors also con­sid­ered a re­quest from the Par­nell Trust, who re­ceived a sim­i­lar rent hike on its Glad­stone Park early child­hood cen­tre.

Mem­bers con­firmed the mar­ket rent for the trust, but also agreed to a one-off $15,000 grant.

The trust was con­sid­ered a spe­cial case be­cause prof­its are spent on com­mu­nity pro­grammes, sup­ported by the coun­cil.

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