Re­sort up­grade con­cerns lo­cals

Central Leader - - OUT & ABOUT - JAY BOREHAM

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.

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