Pot­ters happy to be back in the Wool­shed

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

The Gear Home­stead Wool­shed Pot­ters will have a bounce in their step at their an­nual sale, with the un­cer­tainty and shock of events a year ago put to rest.

The Gear Wool­shed was closed by own­ers Porirua City Coun­cil on De­cem­ber 31, 2012, af­ter the for­mer sta­bles were deemed to be vul­ner­a­ble to earth­quake and fire. The walls were sag­ging and the roof, floors and foun­da­tions needed up­grad­ing.

Af­ter re­pairs dur­ing the win­ter, cost­ing $ 160,000 – far less than ini­tial es­ti­mate – the Pot­ters were back at the end of Septem­ber. Porirua City Coun­cil agreed at its Te Komiti meet­ing last week to a three­year lease for the group.

Pot­ters pres­i­dent Jo Po­hatu said the group was ex­cited to be back in its premises, fir­ing up the kilns again.

‘‘We had been in limbo for a long time and we knew the lease was go­ing to be more [$535 in year 1 up to $1070 in year 3], but we were pre­pared for that.

‘‘It was a huge shock for every­one to be out of the Wool­shed that quickly last year, but we’re over the moon now.

‘‘Credit to the city coun­cil, too. They have been great to work with.’’

Dur­ing the dis­cus­sion at Te Komiti, Porirua mayor Nick Leggett raised the is­sue of long- term oc­cu­piers of coun­cil-owned as­sets.

‘‘When you think of the Wool­shed and Ti­tahi Bay theatre, you’re build­ing up ex­pec­ta­tions. When there are sig­nif­i­cant costs to up­grade and main­tain, we can get our­selves into a tan­gle.

‘‘A more strate­gic look at th­ese as­sets and who pays for them is re­quired, be­cause there will be more [de­mands] on ratepay­ers.

‘‘We do costs and ser­vices re­views, but then we lack the courage in other ar­eas.’’

He said he had groups ap­proach­ing him all the time to use coun­cil as­sets, and had to turn down many.

Councillors agreed a re­port into the is­sue of the leas­ing of coun­cil as­sets was needed.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Gary Simp­son said a re­quire­ment could be that clubs and groups needed to ‘‘ make their case’’ ev­ery time a lease was up for re­newal.

Along with the Pot­ters, other groups that use the Wool­shed are Kapiti Cam­era Club, Gear Wool­shed Fi­bre­crafts and At­tic Artists.

The Wool­shed Pot­ters’ an­nual sale con­tin­ues at Gear Home­stead this week­end.

Photo: ANDREA O’NEIL

Health hui: Health Min­is­ter Tony Ryall launched a new ac­tion plan for Porirua’s health prob­lems at Pataka last week.

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