Call for rent hike startles
Mana Montessori has had its lease extended by Porirua City Council, but one councillor was calling for it be charged a commerical rate.
The early childhood centre has leased part of Endeavour Park since 1998. While this is not due to expire until 2018, it plans to undertake drainage work and other improvements, and sought a 21-year extension.
Councillor Liz Kelly told the council committee on September 1 she had been on the Montessori website and read a surplus of about $50,000 for the last year.
‘‘I don’t have a problem with Montessori, I support childcare and it meets the community outcomes. But why should our city’s ratepayers be subsidising a business? This city has high rates because we have no assets – the land that this council owns is an asset so why not charge commercial rates? It’s another loss we’re suffering.’’
Council officers told Ms Kelly this particular issue would be raised as part of a future costs and services review and Mana Montessori was subject to threeyearly reviews of their lease.
The lease was granted – with the annual rental increasing from $100 to $200 – but Ms Kelly said the policy was ‘‘messy’’ and hoped there would be future discussion.
Mana Montessori’s head of school Nicola Dickie said she was ‘‘startled’’ to hear of the suggestion the preschool should face commercial rates.
‘‘We wanted to expand a few years ago, but the council said no, so we’re working on the land that we have. We’re meeting a community demand, with children from right through the Porirua basin, from Cannons Creek, Titahi Bay and Pukerua Bay. We’d love to be here long-term, that’s why we asked for the lease and are glad it was granted.’’