Council says no strategic purchasing
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.