Coun­cil says no strate­gic pur­chas­ing

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - JARED NI­COLL

Porirua’s so-called ‘‘patchy’’ record in prop­erty pur­chas­ing has fea­tured in a coun­cil de­ci­sion not to al­lo­cate $11 mil­lion for strate­gic prop­erty.

Af­ter con­sid­er­ing pub­lic feed­back on the draft Long-Term Plan for 2018-38, city coun­cil­lors voted against al­lo­cat­ing $11 mil­lion for pur­chas­ing strate­gic prop­erty, not­ing the coun­cil would pur­chase on a case-by­case ba­sis.

The plan had been to pre­pare to in­vest in land near the Trans­mis­sion Gully Mo­tor­way for fu­ture eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.

The de­ci­sion will shave 0.33 per cent from the coun­cil’s pro­posed an­nual in­crease of 5.2 per cent for each of the next four years.

At the meet­ing on June 7, coun­cil­lor Dale Wil­liams said the coun­cil would be bet­ter off con­sid­er­ing each po­ten­tial pur­chase on its own merit.

‘‘Our track record in prop­erty pur­chases is patchy.’’

How­ever, coun­cil­lor Ana Cof­fey be­lieved the main prin­ci­ple be­hind strate­gic prop­erty pur­chases should be to cre­ate ‘‘the look and the feel of the type of city we want’’.

‘‘A prime ex­am­ple of that, which I re­alise is still a sore point for some peo­ple, is the post of­fice build­ing.’’

The coun­cil sold the for­mer NZ Post build­ing at Serlby Place to de­vel­oper Ian Cas­sel’s The Welling­ton Com­pany last year.

The coun­cil sold it for $400,000 af­ter buy­ing it in 2014 for $570,000, and had spent a fur­ther $180,000 on in­sur­ance, rates, re­source con­sents and build­ing im­prove­ments.

‘‘We bought it be­cause there was a chance it [could] sit there for years and years with noth­ing hap­pen­ing,’’ she said.

‘‘Be­cause we’ve re­sponded it means we were able to get the de­vel­oper on board to cre­ate some­thing for our city. So that’s a point that’s of­ten lost in the con­ver­sa­tion with our com­mu­nity.’’

Coun­cil­lor Ross Leggett pro­posed that strate­gic pur­chases be funded by sell­ing as­sets.

‘‘I think there are times when it’s nec­es­sary to pur­chase strate­gic prop­erty. We would not be talk­ing about an Ad­ven­ture Park or we wouldn’t have North City [Shop­ping Cen­tre] or Aotea block if it wasn’t for strate­gic pur­chas­ing.’’

But the coun­cil’s chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer, Roy Baker, said that sell­ing ex­ist­ing prop­erty would not make much money, and could be com­pli­cated by fac­tors such as re­serve land.

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