Resort upgrade concerns locals
A planned refurbishment of Waiwera Thermal Resort is causing concerns for staff and residents.
The facility, owned by Russian billionaire Mikhail Khimic, cut its operating time from seven days per week to three on Monday due to upgrades.
It will be closed Monday to Thursday until the work, expected to continue until December, is finished.
However, the move is causing a lot of ‘‘angst’’ in the Waiwera community, resident Sheree Markovina said.
‘‘Everyone who has a position at the Waiwera Hot Pools is keeping very tight-lipped because of the future of their employment.
‘‘There is a lot of concern in the community about what is happening, and it is hard to say what is going on.’’
Markovina said she didn’t want to speculate but that some residents questioned whether the refurbishment was happening at all, and some suspected it was a cover to slash operating hours for a failing business.
Her main concern was the resort was also home to the Waiwera postal centre and its PO Boxes were now less accessible for the community.
The refurbishment means access, which was 10am-8pm in the winter and 9am-9pm in the summer, had been cut back to 10am-5pm.
Markovina runs two businesses and relied heavily on mail.
‘‘Anyone working from eight or nine till five - they don’t get their mail.’’
Markovina met with resort manager Avi Jayapuram to let him know the community consensus was the reduction of postal centre hours was unacceptable.
Questions to the Waiwera Thermal Resort on what the refurbishment plans involve were put off by a resort spokeswoman, who said a press release will come out next week.
‘‘At the moment we don’t have anything further to say.’’
The release would also cover staff concerns and discuss the community’s access to the PO Boxes, she said.
‘‘We know the necessity to have that available to them.’’
NZ Post said it was aware of the renovations and the impact on customers. It noted a meeting had been scheduled with residents to discuss opening hours and was hopeful a satisfactory resolution was found.