Coun­cil ser­vice cen­tre sale backed

Franklin County News - - FRONT PAGE -

The Pukekohe Ser­vice Cen­tre on Manukau Rd will be sold as the Auck­land Coun­cil looks to make bet­ter use of of­fice space.

How­ever the coun­cil is promis­ing that all ser­vices will re­main in Franklin.

‘‘Any lo­cal board of­fice or cus­tomer ser­vice cen­tre that could be af­fected by the sale of any of th­ese build­ings will be re­lo­cated within the area, in con­sul­ta­tion with the rel­e­vant lo­cal board,’’ Ross Clow, chair of the Fi­nance and Per­for­mance com­mit­tee, said on Tues­day.

Seven coun­cil-owned of­fice sites worth $128 mil­lion will be sold. The coun­cil said they are cost­ing Auck­land ratepay­ers $1 mil­lion a month in lost rev­enue.

Franklin Lo­cal Board deputy chair Andy Baker said the de­ci­sion to sell the Manukau Rd site comes with the sup­port of the board.

‘‘We have never been op­posed to the sale, and ac­cept that the costs of re­tain­ing and main­tain­ing th­ese types of fa­cil­i­ties is a huge bur­den on rates as it is an op­er­a­tional ex­pense.’’

Baker said the board be­gan the dis­cus­sion into mak­ing bet­ter use of the Manukau Rd site in the first term of Auck­land Coun­cil, when they re­alised times and needs had changed, and much of the cur­rent of­fice space was go­ing to waste.

‘‘Whilst the prop­er­ties have been cleared for sale, it will still be up to two years be­fore they go on the mar­ket.

‘‘In Pukekohe we need to fi­nalise where we will lo­cate the new coun­cil ser­vice cen­tre and [Lo­cal Board] of­fice and then de­velop that so it is fit for pur­pose for now, and also fu­ture­proofed.’’

Franklin Fam­ily Sup­port Ser­vices has re­cently moved into the Manukau Rd site but had been aware of the sale from the be­gin­ning, Baker said. He said it will be up to two years be­fore the build­ing is mar­keted for sale.

He said Auck­land Deputy Mayor and Franklin coun­cil­lor Bill Cash­more pushed for a rec­om­men­da­tion that coun­cil ‘‘staff work with Lo­cal Boards to make sure the strate­gic value of the prop­er­ties was max­imised and that there were some tan­gi­ble good com­mu­nity out­comes other than bet­ter works spa­ces for staff and coun­cil cus­tomers.’’

Cash­more said: ‘‘The re­de­vel­op­ment of the site will need to in­clude sub­stan­tial park and ride pro­vi­sion and com­mer­cial space for com­mu­nity ben­e­fit. One such use that is be­ing worked on is AUT and or MIT ed­u­ca­tion pres­ence.

‘‘The lo­cal board will be in­volved in all steps go­ing for­ward.

‘‘Liv­ing in the past is ex­pen­sive and in­ef­fi­cient,’’ he said.

It is es­ti­mated that Auck­land­wide 45 per cent of coun­cil of­fice space is cur­rently un­used, and it would cost a fur­ther $117 mil­lion to main­tain ex­ist­ing sites.

The Pukekohe Ser­vice Cen­tre site is val­ued at $7.2 mil­lion.

Auck­land Coun­cil will sell the Pukekohe Ser­vice Cen­tre.

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