South Taranaki Star
New roof gets council nod
South Taranaki District councillors have agreed to replace the Opunake Events Centre’s leaking roof because the trust that runs the site does not have the cash.
Provided the move is approved by the full council at its next meeting, the work might be done before winter.
At a recent meeting of the policy and strategy committee, councillors heard that a new roof for the community sports and leisure facility, which opened in 2004, would cost between $310,000 and $360,000, based on current pricing and including scaffolding.
The Opunake Sport and Recreation Trust applied to the council for a contribution last year but the request was declined. Instead, councillors asked for a report with options around replacing the roof.
‘‘The trust has advised that in the event the council cannot support the funding assistance and the trust are required to fund the roof replacement, the trust may no longer be sustainable and will have to ‘hand over’ the operations of the centre to the council as per their constitution,’’ the report by South Taranaki District Council recreation and facilities manager Phil Waite said.
The council would then need to pay for the roof replacement and also take responsibility for the day-to-day operations and full costs of the centre.
Waite recommended the council loan-fund the new roof and increase the annual grant paid to the Opunake Sport and Recreation Trust to repay the loan, for the term of the loan.
An updated partnership agreement between the council and the trust will be finalised before the money is released.
The council voted unanimously in favour of the move, but deputy mayor Rob Northcott said he thought the trust should have been putting money away for when the roof needed replacing.
‘‘You can’t help but wonder if, along the way, we are just about being held to ransom . . . I don’t think the trust through the years has done a good job – roofs wear out, so a contingency plan should have been put in place before the last minute.’’
Mayor Phil Nixon said the pandemic had reduced the trust’s income when the venue wasn’t able to be used.
‘‘The trust did have quite a nest egg put aside but Covid has eaten away a lot of the funds they had put aside. That has certainly affected their funds.’’
A lot of labour and materials for the centre were provided at reduced prices by tradespeople and businesses in the community, which saved the council money, Taranaki coastal ward councillor Aarun Langton said.
‘‘We all know this is a very important part of our community.’’
Coastal ward councillor Bryan Roach agreed the work needed to be done.
‘‘Another season and we’ll be up for a new floor at $200,000, it can’t get wet. How fast can we move on this project? Costs are going up weekly.’’
Council chief executive Waid Crockett said the intention was to do the work before winter.