Future of Reynolds Hall on agenda

Larry Foster

COLUMN

It is committee week, so councillors will be reading up the combined 521 pages to get their heads around the issues and reports to debate on the day.

These will be the first meetings where all councillors now have laptop devices. All our agendas are now online, so there is no more paper or printing costs. It will save an estimated $180,000 a year.

Some of us have been using devices for a few years now. The transition is relatively easy, especially with a new app we have to make all referencing, highlighting etc way easier.

The Community Development and Services Committee meeting is first up on Wednesday 9am at the Watson Room of the Cossie Club. On the agenda is the future of the Reynolds Hall in Tolaga Bay. The Reynolds Hall Trust has requested that Gisborne District Council take ownership of the hall and surrounding land. Projected funding over the next 15 years is $1.35 million, which is $90,400 per annum, and has not been budgeted for by the council. Half this expenditure is required in the next four years; $550,000 was spent on much-needed maintenance in 2015, which was funded from external sources. Staff have suggested three options to choose from:

Option 1 — Do nothing and retain the status quo. This would allow the owners as a charitable trust to seek funding for asset renewals and maintenance as well as gain revenue. As part of this option, the council would remain open to providing technical support on a day-to-day basis, similar to how the council engages with other community facilities around the district.

Option 2 — The council could make an annual grant to support the running of the asset. The trust could apply for the council’s multi-year grant which allows them to get funding of up to $20,000 annually over a three-year period to help towards repairs, maintenance and employment of a custodian to support bookings etc. The trust would retain ownership and could seek external funding for the upgrade work and day-to-day running as well as revenue to support the activity.

Option 3 — The council could take over the asset to be a council-managed asset and incur the $1.35m bill required over the next 15 years. There are 105 other building assets the council currently looks after that are also ageing and require maintenance within the next 15 years. An extra allocated budget would be required, which would trigger a 0.20 percent increase to rates. This option could be considered as part of the 2018–2028 Long Term Plan. A submission by the trust could be put forward for elected members to consider.

Option 1 is recommended by staff, but you never know until the day what councillors are thinking or prepared to debate. Requests like this from our community are increasing and, with extremely tight budgeting constraints, the council finds itself in quite a dilemma trying to please all.

Another topical subject on the agenda is the approval of the Peel Street toilet facility designs. The council made the decision to upgrade the facility and allocate $400,000 in the 2017/2018 financial year to refurbish the Peel Street toilets subject to approval of design by the Community Development and Services Committee. The designs look great, and you can check them out on this committee’s agenda which is now online with the other committee agendas.

It is committee week, so councillors will be reading up the combined 521 pages to get their heads around the issues and reports to debate on the day.

These will be the first meetings where all councillors now have laptop devices. All our agendas are now online, so there is no more paper or printing costs. It will save an estimated $180,000 a year.

Some of us have been using devices for a few years now. The transition is relatively easy, especially with a new app we have to make all referencing, highlighting etc way easier.

The Community Development and Services Committee meeting is first up on Wednesday 9am at the Watson Room of the Cossie Club. On the agenda is the future of the Reynolds Hall in Tolaga Bay. The Reynolds Hall Trust has requested that Gisborne District Council take ownership of the hall and surrounding land. Projected funding over the next 15 years is $1.35 million, which is $90,400 per annum, and has not been budgeted for by the council. Half this expenditure is required in the next four years; $550,000 was spent on much-needed maintenance in 2015, which was funded from external sources. Staff have suggested three options to choose from:

Option 1 — Do nothing and retain the status quo. This would allow the owners as a charitable trust to seek funding for asset renewals and maintenance as well as gain revenue. As part of this option, the council would remain open to providing technical support on a day-to-day basis, similar to how the council engages with other community facilities around the district.

Option 2 — The council could make an annual grant to support the running of the asset. The trust could apply for the council’s multi-year grant which allows them to get funding of up to $20,000 annually over a three-year period to help towards repairs, maintenance and employment of a custodian to support bookings etc. The trust would retain ownership and could seek external funding for the upgrade work and day-to-day running as well as revenue to support the activity.

Option 3 — The council could take over the asset to be a council-managed asset and incur the $1.35m bill required over the next 15 years. There are 105 other building assets the council currently looks after that are also ageing and require maintenance within the next 15 years. An extra allocated budget would be required, which would trigger a 0.20 percent increase to rates. This option could be considered as part of the 2018–2028 Long Term Plan. A submission by the trust could be put forward for elected members to consider.

Option 1 is recommended by staff, but you never know until the day what councillors are thinking or prepared to debate. Requests like this from our community are increasing and, with extremely tight budgeting constraints, the council finds itself in quite a dilemma trying to please all.

Another topical subject on the agenda is the approval of the Peel Street toilet facility designs. The council made the decision to upgrade the facility and allocate $400,000 in the 2017/2018 financial year to refurbish the Peel Street toilets subject to approval of design by the Community Development and Services Committee. The designs look great, and you can check them out on this committee’s agenda which is now online with the other committee agendas.

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