Anti-Wainuiomata motel in forced sale

02:14, Jun 24 2009
Donnelly
SALE: Owner Steve Donnelly. The motel made world headlines in April when it issued a blanket ban against guests from Wainuiomata.

A Palmerston North motor lodge that banned an entire town now has two of its villas for sale in a mortgagee auction.

Nine motel units at the Supreme Motor Lodge on Pioneer Highway will go to auction on Thursday.

The motor lodge made world headlines in April when it issued a blanket ban against guests from Wainuiomata because of damage the lodge linked with the town's people.

Wainuiomata Indoor Sports Centre owner/operator Kalena Hura said she wasn't surprised by the mortgagee auction.

Motor lodge management had slated the behaviour of guests from the centre before announcing the ban on the town of 16,000 people.

"They have themselves to blame. What goes around comes around," Mrs Hura said.

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MP for the area, Trevor Mallard, who challenged the ban, said it demonstrated the motel had bad public relations and that it was managed poorly.

The Manawatu Standard suggested to motel owner Steve Donnelly and manager Malcolm Glen that people could link the Wainuiomata ban with the auction.

Both indicated unhappiness with previous media coverage of the controversy, and Mr Glen told the newspaper it could draw whatever link it wanted.

Mr Mallard was at the centre of a stunt for television programme Close Up in April, when he put the Wainuiomata ban to the test.

Mr Mallard, who hails from Wainuiomata, said yesterday his biggest fear was that he might actually have been obliged to stay the night at the lodge (if the policy wasn't enforced).

The motel's description of the manager as "Basil Fawlty" had ensured international attention, he said, and he wasn't surprised by the lodge's lack of comment yesterday.

"Their last foray into the world of publicity was not entirely successful," Mr Mallard said.

The Supreme Motor Lodge has provided accommodation in Palmerston North for more than 25 years.

Facilities were revamped in 2007, after a change of ownership. It is the largest motor lodge motel in Palmerston North, with 47 rooms and seven private courtyards, according to the lodge's website. Public auction of the two villas is on Thursday, 1pm.

Harcourts Palmerston North owner Stuart Pescini said it was unusual for part of a facility to be put up for mortgagee sale, but it did happen.

The two villas would be sold independently.

Mr Mallard said Wainuiomata's Parklands Motel was doing well.

"People from Palmerston North are certainly welcome."

TIMELINE

December, 2008: Students from Wainuiomata High School are turfed out of the lodge just two days into a four-day stay, while playing in a national touch tournament. A dozen students trashed their rooms and teachers did not pull them into line, Supreme Motor Lodge manager Malcolm Glen said.

March, 2009: Wainuiomata Indoor Sports Centre members come to Palmerston North for a national indoor netball tournament. The team's visitors played loud music in their cars at night and when asked to turn it down, staff were told to "piss off", Mr Glen said.

April, 2009: Police Central District commander Russell Gibson says he is embarrassed by a delay in police action after teenage boys trashed a motel room. The lodge bans guests from Wainuiomata.

June, 2009: Two villas at the Supreme Motor Lodge are for sale in a mortgagee auction.

 

The Manawatu Standard