A $400,000 residential property in Ruawai is at the centre of a potential sale-proceeds tussle between the council and its longest-serving committee.
The just over 1000sq m property on Ruawai Wharf Rd has an empty three-bedroom house, built by the former Raupo drainage board to accommodate staff. The organisation’s historic former head office, built in 1940, is also at the site.
Raupo drainage committee members said at their recent November meeting in Ruawai that the property needed to be sold as the 1950s house couldn’t be rented because it didn’t meet Healthy Homes requirements.
The committee’s Raupo drainage board predecessor was legally set up by Parliament in 1905.
However, the Kaipara District Council (KDC) inherited the board’s assets in 1989, as part of local government amalgamations. The board, along with Hobson and Otamatea county councils and Dargaville Borough Council, were merged to become KDC.
KDC policy said money from the sale of council assets goes back to the council, for debt reduction.
But the co-governed council and community Raupo drainage committee wants an exception for 16 Ruawai Wharf Rd.
The committee said the property was paid for and managed by the drainage board, then later drainage committee, using targeted rates from local property owners. This meant the committee was entitled to the sale money.
The decision will now go to the full council to decide.
A Raupo drainage committee meeting last week unanimously recommended the property was sold, on condition any net sale proceeds went back into the Raupo drainage scheme.
Committee chairman Ian Beattie said the committee would only be in favour of selling if the net profits came back to the scheme for improving infrastructure.
“We’ve been funding it since the Ruawai drainage board days, certainly since KDC has been formed,” Beattie said.
The property has a September 2020 capital value of $300,000. Property data company Core Logic says it has a current value of $375,000 to $400,000.
KDC councillor and committee member Mark Vincent said at the meeting that the income from the sale would effectively mean one form of drainage scheme assets changing to another.
What to do about the property’s sale has been a vexed question for some time.
Records show it was also formally raised in 2019.
At that time, KDC property, procurement and commercial manager John Burt said in a committee agenda: “The committee has indicated at previous meetings that it believes the property should be sold and the proceeds utilised within the drainage scheme.
“However, this is not within the responsibilities delegated to this committee by council. Therefore, the committee will need to recommend to council that the property is sold and let council make the decision.”
Burt told this month’s committee meeting in Ruawai that it would cost quite a bit of money to bring the Raupo Wharf Rd house up to Healthy Homes standards.
Committee member, former Kaipara Mayor and Fonterra deputy-chairman Greg Gent said at the recent committee meeting that the property had run at a loss. It has been rented out for $200 a week.
The 8700ha Ruawai-Raupo area’s drainage scheme is administered by the Raupo drainage committee, Kaipara’s longest serving committee. Councillors and ratepayers from the drainage district make up the committee, with ratepayer representatives elected every three years.
The property at 16 Ruawai Wharf Rd is less than 50m from the huge Northern Wairoa River/Kaipara Harbour confluence and local wharf. It is shielded from these waters by a 3m-high drainage scheme stopbank, also protecting Ruawai village and beyond.
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