Call for rent hike star­tles

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

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.’’

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