Botany and Ormiston Times
Howick and Pakuranga Times : Howick and Pakuranga Times Thursday July 17 2014
www.times.co.nz Howick and Pakuranga Times, Thursday, July 17, 2014 — 3 1/287 Botany Rd, Golflands (opp Kings Plant Barn) 1/287 Botany Rd, Golflands (opp Kings Plant Barn) MASSIVE WINTER SALE! HUGE REDUCTIONS 126152 Great Winter Escapes Return ferry for a car and two people and two nights accommodation SAVE UP TO 43% This package is also available for Great Barrier Island for $418 Call 0800 SEALINK (0800 732 546) www.sealink.co.nz *Rates are available for extra nights. Valid until 30 September 2014. Conditions apply. W a iheke Great Winter Escapes Return ferry for a car and two people and two nights accommodation SAVE UP TO 43% This package is also available for Great Barrier Island for $418 Call 0800 SEALINK (0800 732 546) www.sealink.co.nz *Rates are available for extra nights. Valid until 30 September 2014. Conditions apply. Waiheke 126072 AT THE AUCKLAND SPCA Auckland SPCA, 50 Westney Rd, Mangere. Ph: 09 256 7300. Visit our website at www.spca.org.nz FIND YOUR BEST FRIEND 125844-V10 Our promise to you... great service, best advice at the right price. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | www.tyrecity.co.nz In addition to an EXTENSIVE RANGE OF NEW TYRES we also offer: BIG TYRE SALE 20% this July* THE HUB, BOTANY OPEN 7 DAYS 09 265 0985 WE KNOW TYRES By Marianne Kelly UPROAR about a change from per meeting to hourly rates for council-owned commu- nity halls and venues has resulted in a U-turn by the Howick Local Board. Hire increases of more than 400 per cent were railed against with the Nixon Park Hall Com- mittee asking for the proposal to be urgently rescinded. The rates applied from the start of this month. At its meeting last Monday, the local board agreed to reverse the fees to 2013 levels. It also agreed on a refund for extra fees charged between July 1 and July 14. Lucy Schwaner, who chairs the board’s community facilities port- folio, said the new fees structure charged out hourly rates at six dif- ferent hire rates. Since the start of July a number of groups had received letters advising them of the new charges, after the board passed a resolution to change the hire fees system at its meeting last April. “At least seven groups are involved, accounting for hundreds of people,” she said. “User groups have started to pay considerably more than they have ever paid and they simply can’t afford it. It’s unacceptable for the board to disadvantage our commu- nity groups.” Local board deputy-chair Adele White supported Ms Schwaner, saying since she had been on the board she had never been approached so often “as I have in the past two-three weeks about the issues of paid parking and commu- nity hall fees”. Nixon Park Hall Committee president Jody Nicolson says pub- lic hall administration needs to be looked at. “Venue hire says it all – maxim- ise rents and no community input,” she says. “Nixon Park Hall was previously run along club lines with a hall committee which liaised between users and the council. “Property maintenance was brought to the attention of the council and use of the hall was to some extent policed by members.” Mrs Nicolson says regular users need certainty of prices and times. Contracts are being shifted to the council’s July 1-June 30 financial year where most groups set sub- scriptions on calendar years. Allotting time on a first come, first served basis and reserving the right to “bump” users out of the hall makes it difficult when 100 or more members have a regular meeting time, often over many years. Meanwhile, the Pakuranga Play- group says the rise in rent to hire the Pakuranga Community Hall would have forced the closure of the playgroup, which has serviced the community for close to four decades. “To find a new home that is central for our community would be very difficult,” says committee member Candice Thum. The board has asked Auckland Council officers for a report on options to resolve the issue, includ- ing grandfathering (exempting) charges for existing community organisations. It wants a list of the facilities and information about their use, a comparison of rates previously paid compared with the new struc- ture, and options to resolve the fee differential between existing user groups of the four community halls and the new fees and charges. Ms Schwaner says the informa- tion will more than likely take a few weeks to gather. “I doubt officers will be able to get the detail we requested by the August [board] meeting.” Mrs Nicolson says the board seems to have covered the situ- ation well with questions that should have been asked in the first place. Fee increase thrown out GOT A RESULT: Last Monday, the Times reported the outrage community groups were feeling at the Auckland Council’s new fee rates for hiring halls and venues. Jody Nicolson, front right, and fellow Nixon Park Hall users were united in their call to the Howick Local Board to revert back to previous charges. Times photo Wayne Martin Rationale explained COMMUNITY hall hire price hikes of more than 400 per cent have left the users reeling, so the Times asked the Auckland Council what is the rationale behind them. Community facilities manager Kevin Marriott responds: Are the price hikes fair? ■■ Under legacy arrangements some groups were being charged fees that were less than the cor- rect rate and now face larger increases compared with those paying the correct rates. We’re exploring transitional options to assist groups that are in this position. What discounts are available? ■■ Twen- ty per cent off the standard rate for regu- lar hirers who make 10 or more bookings a year, and for off-peak times. The coun- cil recognises the vital role that commu- nity groups play. Hirers offering activities aligned to local board priorities will re- ceive the maximum 50 per cent discount. Standard fees will apply to commercial or one-off private use. Will the swipe card system cause ■■ problems if it fails? The card system be- ing rolled out has operated successfully for community facilities in Central Auckland for a number of years. If there is an issue, the doors can be opened remotely when a call to a 24/7 number is made, which will be answered by a real person. Why the increase? ■■ Fees were reviewed because of wide variations in room pricing for similar community facilities within lo- cal board areas and across Auckland. The greatest subsidy is now targeted to not- for-profit and community groups. Why an hourly basis? ■■ To create a standard charging system with one-hour blocks being used so that bookings of vari- ous durations can be accommodated. What will the extra money be used ■■ for? Revenue generated will be within ex- isting local board budgets. Will patronage drop off? ■■ We have op- tions for groups to suit their various needs and budgets and are happy to work with them to find the best solution.
Howick and Pakuranga Times Monday July 14 2014
Howick and Pakuranga Times Monday July 21 2014