Pub­lic meet­ings for new wharf en­tity

The Northland Age - - Local News -

Three pub­lic meet­ings have been called for Thurs­day May 2 to dis­cuss plans for form­ing a trust to man­age the town’s wharf jointly with coun­cilowned com­pany Far North Hold­ings.

The meet­ings — 11am, 2pm and 6pm at Haratu Koro­rareka Marae, Pitt St, Rus­sell — will also dis­cuss the pro­posed man­age­ment part­ner­ship agree­ment be­tween the new trust and FNHL, which de­tails how the two or­gan­i­sa­tions will work with each other day-to-day to co-man­age the wharf.

For­ma­tion of the Koro­rareka/ Rus­sell Wharf Com­mu­nity Kaiti­aki Trust was one of the con­di­tions that the com­mu­nity and FNHL both re­quired to be in place be­fore a trans­fer of the wharf’s own­er­ship from the coun­cil to Far North Hold­ings could take place.

The com­mu­nity also spec­i­fied that the process should be run by the ex­ist­ing Rus­sell Wharf and Water­side Trust (RWWT), which had a long-stand­ing in­volve­ment in many mat­ters re­lat­ing to the op­er­a­tion and main­te­nance of the wharf.

Those stip­u­la­tions were rat­i­fied by coun­cil­lors as part of the coun­cil’s long-term plan process last year. Pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion around the LTP in­di­cated over­whelm­ing ratepayer sup­port for the coun­cil’s pro­posal to trans­fer own­er­ship to FNHL.

The May 2 com­mu­nity meet­ings will be fa­cil­i­tated by lawyers from Chapman Tripp, the firm en­gaged by the RWWT to draft the pro­posed deed for the new trust and build the part­ner­ship agree­ment.

As with other wharf-re­lated com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion meet­ings in Rus­sell in re­cent years, they will be iden­ti­cal in terms of for­mat and the core in­for­ma­tion pre­sented.

The new deed pro­posed by Chapman Tripp cre­ates the com­mu­nity en­tity re­quired to man­age the wharf jointly with FNHL, spec­i­fy­ing a gov­er­nance struc­ture that will en­sure the trust is both rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the wider Rus­sell com­mu­nity and has the nec­es­sary com­pe­tence to ful­fil its obli­ga­tions.

Once com­mu­nity in­put has been re­ceived both documents will be re­vised as nec­es­sary, sub­mit­ted to the com­mu­nity for fi­nal re­view and then fi­nalised.

Both the pro­posed new trust deed and the draft man­age­ment part­ner­ship agree­ment will be pub­lished on lo­cal web­sites, in­clud­ing those of the Rus­sell Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion and the Koro­rareka Marae So­ci­ety, by April 11. Links to all web­sites host­ing the documents will be pub­lished on the Rus­sell Wharf and Water­side Trust’s Facebook page by the same date.

A gen­eral call for the nom­i­na­tion of trustees and an in­tro­duc­tion of the nom­i­na­tion and vot­ing process will also be pub­lished on April 11.

None of the ex­ist­ing RWWT trustees will be seek­ing elec­tion.

“We look for­ward to see­ing some of the great man­age­ment and com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment tal­ent that calls Rus­sell home be­com­ing in­volved in both the process and the gov­er­nance of the new, ex­panded trust,” RWWT trustee Riki Kin­naird said.

The RWWT was now in the process of be­ing wound down, in an­tic­i­pa­tion of the new, more rep­re­sen­ta­tive or­gan­i­sa­tion be­ing es­tab­lished. Mr Kin­naird ex­pected wind­ing down to be com­pleted at the end of its fi­nan­cial year in June.

Its few as­sets would be dis­posed of in a man­ner con­sis­tent with the trust’s ob­jec­tives and deed. By the time of the pub­lic meet­ings it would have about $10,000 in cash, which would be used for pro­fes­sional ser­vices.

The Koro­rareka/Rus­sell Wharf Com­mu­nity Kaiti­aki Trust will be formed ini­tially as a con­ven­tional trust. It is in­tended that char­i­ta­ble trust status will be ap­plied for, en­abling it to ap­ply for char­i­ta­ble fund­ing and to raise funds more ef­fec­tively from busi­nesses and com­mu­nity groups.

“There will be times when the Koro­rareka/Rus­sell Wharf Com­mu­nity Kaiti­aki Trust wants to spend money on the wharf for things that Far North Hold­ings is not will­ing or able to fund,” Mr Kin­naird said.

“Char­i­ta­ble trust status keeps these al­ter­na­tive fund­ing options open in a way that an incorporat­ed so­ci­ety or other po­ten­tial gov­er­nance ve­hi­cles can­not.”

The new, fully-rep­re­sen­ta­tive Koro­rareka/Rus­sell Wharf Com­mu­nity Kaiti­aki Trust will be guar­an­teed by its joint man­age­ment agree­ment with FNHL the sec­ond option of buy­ing the wharf should FNHL ever de­cide to sell it. The coun­cil will hold the first option.

Mr Kin­naird hoped that the new trust would be formed, and the board of trustees elected, by the end of June, but said the process would ul­ti­mately take “as long as it takes”.

PIC­TURE / PETER DE GRAAF

Rus­sell’s wharf, about to come un­der new man­age­ment.

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