Council assets ‘unused’
At a time when rates rises are reaching record levels in Porirua, prime pieces of city councilowned real estate are sitting undeveloped.
Council critic – and frequent Kapi-Mana News letter-writer – Andrew Wellum said the council was running short of cash, had Transmission Gully link roads to pay for and rates rises were continuing unabated.
‘‘I don’t think this council knows what to do with its assets. It should be leaving the private sector in charge of property,’’ he said.
‘‘They harp on about a lack of revenue, but they’re losing rates on these expensive properties that are just sitting there.
‘‘They should get back to their core business.’’
Wellum favours selling the property to take the pressure off rates, projected to rise more than 5 per cent this year.
‘‘People will flee Porirua if the rates keep rising.’’
Councillor and real estate agent Euon Murrell represented the vendors for the Steyne Ave properties sale, but took no part in the council meeting that confirmed the purchase.
He said the intention was to enlarge public access to the beach, which was ‘‘disjointed and awk- ward’’ at present.
‘‘Sometimes you have to make purchases looking at the long term,’’ he said.
‘‘It gives you options – the intentions were right and there are plans for development, which is on councillors’ radar.
‘‘We want to enhance Porirua as a destination and buying property like this can achieve that.’’
Murrell said he hoped there would be progress on the development of the Titahi Bay and Plimmerton sites, but said changes in council personnel meant some of the work had stalled.
Council chief executive Wendy Walker said the purchases were about ‘‘future-proofing’’.
‘‘Both [Bay Dr and Steyne Ave] are secured for development as public amenities.
‘‘This work isn’t urgent, but is being scheduled in our work programme,’’ she said.
Walker said the New Zealand Post building was a ‘‘very reasonable cost’’ and that four companies would soon present proposals to develop it.
No 19 Bay Dr, bought by Porirua City Council in 2012.