The au­tumn of dis­con­tent

South Waikato News - - Front Page - LUKE KIRKEBY

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

LUKE KIRKEBY/ FAIRFAX NZ

LUKE KIRKEBY/ FAIRFAX NZ

Sam Kennedy.

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