Councillor says GDC needs to rethink council building

Waiapu Ward member Bill Burdett says his constituents are concerned about the new council building and its ownership being transferred to GHL.

Waiapu Ward member Bill Burdett says his constituents are concerned about the new council building and its ownership being transferred to GHL.

Proposed new council building.

WAIAPU Ward member Bill Burdett believes Gisborne District Council must review its decision to build a new administration centre in Fitzherbert Street and transfer ownership to the fully owned Gisborne Holdings Ltd.

If he is asked to be one of the five signatories needed for a notice of motion to have the council decision reviewed, he says he will do so and believes there are enough other councillors prepared to sign to force the issue to be put on the council agenda, hopefully for a meeting of Future Tairawhiti later this month.

Other councillors told The Herald they would consider revisiting the issue and signing a notice of motion.

There is widespread concern in the community about the council’s decision, including from the Coast, Mr Burdett says.

“People are ringing me to say they want it looked at again.”

Many people believe the council should own its administration building and Coast people are worried about the Te Puia centre going to GHL.

“We are the elected representatives of the people and we have a responsibility to act on their concerns,” he said.

Mr Burdett said he has doubted the wisdom of transferring ownership to Gisborne Holdings Ltd and was one of the six people who voted against it.

Many people believed that the council should own the administration centre, not a council-controlled organisation, he said.

The directors of GHL would change over time, as would the council senior staff including the chief executive.

Responsibility to ensure viability

While the council was the sole shareholder and appointed the GHL directors, their primary responsibility was to ensure the viability of the company, he said.

He feels that some of the questions raised about whether a full rebuild is needed have not been adequately answered and he does not support some responses that have been only to abuse the critics.

Mr Burdett also questions the details that were given to councillors when the decision was made, particularly when people like the engineer mentioned in Saturday’s editorial called for an urgent review.

Even if it meant delaying the project and increasing the cost of the transition period when the council staff were in rented premises, a full review should be held, he said. The extra cost would still be less than that of a full rebuild.

The part of the complex built in 1979/1980 still had a life of about 50 years and the 2001 building could possibly be strengthened.

“I would like to see a completely new, independent and objective review of the condition of the buildings and the options,” he said.

■ Graeme Thomson said he would consider signing a notice of motion. Enough questions had been asked to warrant having the situation discussed again. He was always opposed to transferring ownership of the building to GHL.

■ Roger Haisman said he would consider signing a notice of motion.

■ Larry Foster said he was a representative of the community and would do what the community wanted. The council had been through a thorough process and he respected that process. However, there were some questions to which he would like answers.

■ Pat Seymour and Amber Dunn voted against the rebuild, and councillor Seymour last week called for an urgent review of the decisions taken so far by the council.

WAIAPU Ward member Bill Burdett believes Gisborne District Council must review its decision to build a new administration centre in Fitzherbert Street and transfer ownership to the fully owned Gisborne Holdings Ltd.

If he is asked to be one of the five signatories needed for a notice of motion to have the council decision reviewed, he says he will do so and believes there are enough other councillors prepared to sign to force the issue to be put on the council agenda, hopefully for a meeting of Future Tairawhiti later this month.

Other councillors told The Herald they would consider revisiting the issue and signing a notice of motion.

There is widespread concern in the community about the council’s decision, including from the Coast, Mr Burdett says.

“People are ringing me to say they want it looked at again.”

Many people believe the council should own its administration building and Coast people are worried about the Te Puia centre going to GHL.

“We are the elected representatives of the people and we have a responsibility to act on their concerns,” he said.

Mr Burdett said he has doubted the wisdom of transferring ownership to Gisborne Holdings Ltd and was one of the six people who voted against it.

Many people believed that the council should own the administration centre, not a council-controlled organisation, he said.

The directors of GHL would change over time, as would the council senior staff including the chief executive.

Responsibility to ensure viability

While the council was the sole shareholder and appointed the GHL directors, their primary responsibility was to ensure the viability of the company, he said.

He feels that some of the questions raised about whether a full rebuild is needed have not been adequately answered and he does not support some responses that have been only to abuse the critics.

Mr Burdett also questions the details that were given to councillors when the decision was made, particularly when people like the engineer mentioned in Saturday’s editorial called for an urgent review.

Even if it meant delaying the project and increasing the cost of the transition period when the council staff were in rented premises, a full review should be held, he said. The extra cost would still be less than that of a full rebuild.

The part of the complex built in 1979/1980 still had a life of about 50 years and the 2001 building could possibly be strengthened.

“I would like to see a completely new, independent and objective review of the condition of the buildings and the options,” he said.

■ Graeme Thomson said he would consider signing a notice of motion. Enough questions had been asked to warrant having the situation discussed again. He was always opposed to transferring ownership of the building to GHL.

■ Roger Haisman said he would consider signing a notice of motion.

■ Larry Foster said he was a representative of the community and would do what the community wanted. The council had been through a thorough process and he respected that process. However, there were some questions to which he would like answers.

■ Pat Seymour and Amber Dunn voted against the rebuild, and councillor Seymour last week called for an urgent review of the decisions taken so far by the council.

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