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Cost of ‘old house’ at Te Puia concerns

Yearly rent of more than $100,000 for what is ‘‘essentially an old house’’ at Te Puia has raised the concerns of Gisborne district councillors.

Andy Cranston, chairman of council’s community development and services committee, told his fellow committee members that the “old house’’ was costing almost $2000 in weekly rent or $101,000 per annum.

The building had undergone earthquake repairs, but the cost still concerned him.

“I just don’t get it.’’

Council could have built a service centre at Ruatoria instead.

Bill Burdett said council owned much land and buildings in Ruatoria.

‘‘I would have pushed (against Te Puia), but I backed off, because staff didn’t want to move and Gisborne Holdings Ltd were doing the repair work.

‘However, when you spread that over a number of years, it’s a lot of money.

‘‘Realistically we should have been told (of the cost increase).”

The Te Puia facility also involved a pound and a huge depot for contractors.

He was unsure if the rent only covered ‘‘our building or the whole thing’’.

“We had an opportunity to move earlier and I got rubbished well and truly.”

Shannon Dowsing said it appeared that council were paying “a great deal for a fairly low level of service”.

Regardless of whether the rent was for the council building or the entire site, the rent had increased by 231 percent.

He questioned if council was paying market rates for office space and asked if a paper should be presented to councillors.

Andrew White, director of liveable communities, said he would like to look at issues raised by Mr Dowsing.

Staff would report back to the next committee meeting, he said.