Council take over clubrooms
5 May 2015
KAWERAU District Council has decided to pay for basic repairs to clubrooms at Tarawera Park, formerly owned by the Onepu Rugby Union Football Club.
The council took over the building’s ownership after its ground lease with the club expired.
The council was presented with three options during a council meeting on April 28: remove the building; ask the building owner to remove it; or take over the facility.
It agreed to take over the building and spend $40,000 for basic repair work, with the option of further work depending on demand for the facility.
The council granted the Onepu club a 20-year ground lease in July 1993.
Under the reserve management plan clubrooms are only permitted on a council recreational reserve when the club’s activities are of a sporting nature. The club had not fulfilled this role for some time.
After the lease lapsed in July 2013 it was extended for a year and the council wrote to the organisation in November 2013, giving it until the end of 2014 to begin activities that complied with this condition.
“If the club is not using the clubrooms for sporting purposes by June 30, 2014, the lease will not be renewed and the club will be asked to remove the clubrooms from Tarawera Park,” the letter read.
In response the club wrote to the council on March 26, 2014, saying netball, waka ama, and mau rakau were being operated from the site and it planned to introduce amateur boxing, Zumba and basic ball-handling skills before the end of 2014.
This letter was presented to a council meeting on April 29, 2014, and an accompanying report said the club’s sporting activities now met the reserve management plan’s requirement.
At the time, Mayor Malcolm Campbell called the short letter “feeble” and “insulting” as no one had signed it.
He said the clubrooms were a good booze venue.
Other councillors were also unsatisfied with the response and requested a meeting with club members to discuss other concerns before a new lease was granted.
The club declined to meet and said it would seek legal advice.
During a meeting on June 10, 2014, the council declined a new lease but stopped short of asking the club to remove the building from the reserve.
From July 2014 the facilities reverted to council ownership and the councillors discussed making it available to other community groups rather than removing the building.
The council considered the lease for a third time in August last year.
It agreed to return the building to the club, provided a number of conditions were met by February 28 this year.
These included allowing the council to inspect the site, following a maintenance schedule prepared by council staff, and keeping the building in a decent state of repair.
However, February 28 passed and the club still had not met the council’s conditions.
A club representative indicated it would prefer the council take over ownership and operation of the clubrooms.
During the meeting on April 28, the council was presented with three options for the building.
The council considered asking the club remove the building, however it was uncertain the group would comply – or the council could remove the building at an estimated cost of $10,000 to $20,000.
The selected option was basic repairs to the hall costing $40,000. A full fit-out was put at $257,500.
The council was presented with options for hire fees but decided to negotiate a fee with new tenants instead of setting a price, this work was expected to take two months but tenants were able to use the space earlier.’
Source: Whakatane Beacon