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7 March 2017
Consultation opens next week on Waipa District Council’s proposal to sell its Palmer St pensioner housing complex in Te Awamutu.
Before Christmas Waipa District Council confirmed it wants to sell the 36-unit complex to Habitat for Humanity and use the sale proceeds to build new pensioner housing units in the district.
Habitat, which already owns the neighbouring Freeman Court, will be required to maintain the complex for pensioner housing. The current tenants have all been informed of the proposal and, as long as conditions are met, will be offered lifetime tenancies as a condition of any sale.
Today Councillors approved a formal consultation document detailing the proposal. The document will be widely distributed and available from next week.
Mayor Jim Mylchreest reiterated today his council was “absolutely committed” to growing the district’s pensioner housing stock and this proposal offered a way to do that, while still looking after existing tenants.
Mylchreest said the proceeds of any sale – likely to be between $1.7 - $1.9 million - would be ring-fenced for new pensioner units. Council already provides 131 pensioner housing units in eight complexes across the district.
“Our district is ageing, so demand for pensioner housing in Waipa is only going to increase and we have an obligation to respond to that. Money from the sale would be used to build new pensioner housing units in separate sites in and around Te Awamutu and Kihikihi.”
Palmer Street tenants have been kept completely “in the loop”, the mayor said.
“Existing tenants could choose to stay in their current unit if they wish and the rents would remain at or below market rate.”
Council would also be given first right of refusal to repurchase the site should Habitat for Humanity ever want to sell it.
If the sale did not go ahead, Council would use the $2.6 million already budgeted in its 10-Year Plan to upgrade the current Palmer Street units. But there would be no additional money to build new pensioner housing within Waipa.
Pensioner housing is a self-funded activity at Waipa, meaning costs are covered by rents. Rents are not subsidised by ratepayers.
Formal feedback on the proposal opens on March 14 and will be accepted up until 5pm April 14. Feedback will be accepted via feedback forms attached to the Council’s formal consultation document, online at www.waipadc.govt.nz/haveyoursay or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Verbal submissions are also welcome.
A final decision on the sale will be made in June.
For more information, contact: Jeanette Tyrrell 027 507 7599