News that Paraparaumu’s Te Newhanga Community Centre is yet another Council owned leaky building is calling into question Kāpiti Coast District Council’s competence in managing and maintaining their assets, says mayoral candidate Gwynn Compton.
“The discovery that Te Newhanga Community Centre is not only a leaky building, but also has Statchybotrys mould in the timber, coming just months after Waikanae Library was closed for similar reasons, raises serious questions about the competency of Kāpiti Coast District Council in managing and maintaining community assets,” says Mr Compton.
“The Te Newhanga Community Centre was built and paid for by our community, and gifted to Kāpiti Coast District Council on the proviso that they maintained the building. That we’re now facing a $1.2 million repair bill for the Community Centre, coming off the back of an estimated $2 million repair bill for the Waikanae Library, suggests that the Council has failed to live up to their end of the bargain in keeping on top of properly maintaining the building, and they have let the community down badly.”
Gwynn Compton also says that the issues with Te Newhanga Community Centre reinforces his call for an independent review into Council’s asset management practices, which he made after the Waikanae Library was shown to have 16 years of leaky building issues that didn’t set off any red flags for Council.
“Between the 16 years of leaky building issues at Waikanae Library that should have set off red flags for Council, and now Te Newhanga Community Centre having similar issues, there’s a pressing need for an independent review of what’s going wrong at Council,” says Mr Compton.
“There may even be a need for the Auditor-General to get involved should Kāpiti Coast District Council fail to initiate an independent review themselves, as the community needs to know whether there are other major building issues that haven’t been uncovered yet, and how we can ensure we don’t face this situation again in the future.”
The combined $3.2 million repair bill for Te Newhanga Community Centre and Waikanae Library also come at a time when Kāpiti Coast District Council is constantly reminding the community of their tight financial situation.
“When Kāpiti Coast District Council is facing tight financial constraints and continually pleads poverty as to why it can’t address community infrastructure and social housing issues, finding out we’re now facing repair bills totalling $3.2 million, if not more, because of a failure to properly maintain buildings is pretty hard for our community to stomach.”