Horowhenua District Council is preparing to possibly sell off large amounts of council property or shift it into an independent trust.

A proposed work programme has a project to be developed before July to sell property or transfer it to a yet-to-be-established economic development trust. The trust would be independent of HDC.

The work programme comes as part of an HDC report released last week that proposes establishing the trust. The trust's creation is likely to be ratified by HDC next week
According to the report, from HDC's economic development manager Shanon Grainger, HDC should only hold property required to deliver core services.

That report follows another from Mr Grainger in July saying HDC owned 40 percent too much property and should look to sell.

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Excess property would fund the trust, HDC has said. It saw the trust as a move to boost the district's economic performance.

The trust would look at setting up public private partnerships using private money and HDC assets transferred into the trust.

Last week's report said the trust would invest mostly in areas where the market had not. It gave a truck park facility as an example.

It said the trust's likely first projects, in addition to property development, would be advancing the Levin town centre project, getting involved in negotiations around any SH1 bypass of Levin, partnering with the Lake Horowhenua Trust in building a walkway around the lake, and assisting with a plan for supporting the district's elderly.

Horowhenua Economic Development Board chairman Cam Lewis said the trust would work to maintain and broaden the district's economic base, employment and investment attraction.

It would be much better than HDC at bringing in expertise needed to respond to the district's opportunities and challenges, he said.

Mr Lewis said it was likely HDC's economic development functions would be moved out of council and would operate at the trust.

District mayor Michael Feyen said he supported the idea of a trust but details were yet to be confirmed.

HDC chief executive David Clapperton said HDC had acquired property over the decades for a variety of reasons - some of it useful to the community and some not.

"Managing property we don't really need takes resources away from our core Council business, and it is a risk because we're not professional prop erty managers," he said.

Mr Clapperton said HDC would consult with the community about what property to keep.
No details on possible property sales have yet been made public.