The autumn of discontent
Sam Kennedy and Cyril Raynel love their Tokoroa pensioner flats but they’re at their wits end when it comes to getting the council to carry out maintenance on them.
The Manaia St pensioners say they have approached the South Waikato District Council on numerous occasions to report maintenance issues but their pleas keep falling on deaf ears. A claim the council adamantly denies.
Issues include gutters blocked by leaves from a large oak tree, a hedge that needs regular pruning to allow access and a lawn contractor not using a catcher.
Kennedy said they have helped reduce the council’s maintenance by 64 per cent by doing maintenance themselves.
‘‘My problem is that we have got managers who come around with a clipboard ticking boxes but doing nothing and talking to us like we are bloody mushrooms,’’ Kennedy said.
‘‘I gave a presentation during the mayor’s open public forum last month highlighting the issues we have been having and not one person has got back to me.’’ Raynel said he has been battling by himself for 12 years before Sam moved in last November.
‘‘I’ve been having to recut the lawn myself since November so that all the clippings are picked up and because they haven’t been back to cut the hedge since then either I have to get up on a ledge while Cyril stays behind me to catch me if I fall,’’ he said.
‘‘I’m going to tell them what to do with their tree but it can be managed better through delimbing to stop the gutters getting so blocked.’’
South Waikato District Council communications manager Kerry Fabrie disputed the claims.
‘‘Our Property Administrator met with Sam in the foyer [after the council meeting] within the last two weeks so contact has occurred,’’ she said.
She said the council was also doing as much as budget restrictions allowed.
‘‘Mr Kennedy has been advised that under the current tenancy agreement the level of service for hedge trimming is twice annually, which we do. We appreciate that Mr Kennedy would like this done more often but for us to do that we would need to increase the level of service, which in turn will mean an increase in rent charge,’’ she said.
Fabrie said it would be the same if the guttering was cleared more regularly.
‘‘We can perhaps bring this clearing forward for this particular tree, given the slightly weird weather we have been experiencing. Staff are looking into this,’’ she said
She said the lawn contractor would be using a catcher for a small extra charge. The council reviews its levels of service as part of the Long Term Plan.
‘‘I'm going to tell them what to do with their tree.’’ Sam Kennedy