More opposition to Deveron St development plans
The plans for a proposed new building development on Deveron St in Invercargill has been met with more opposition.
Youth services provider Number 10 and the Invercargill Secondary Schools Network Trust have stated they do not want to relocate from their current premises at 10 Deveron St.
Along with the Invercargill Citizens Bowling Club, who voiced their concerns at a council meeting on Tuesday, the occupants of 10 Deveron had been notified by council staff their leases would not be renewed (expiring in March 2018).
At the meeting on Tuesday, it was revealed the council were considering a proposal to sell the the site for a redevelopment project.
Number 10 chairman Graham Fletcher said there were significant issues with the ability of both organisations to cope with relocation.
"Our current location is first-class, and we're concerned about the cost and suitability of relocation – we haven't found anywhere that would be suitable.
"We're very concerned about how much the relocation and fit-out would cost, because we've already invested a significant amount of community funding where we are, and to pull that apart would be a waste of community funds."
When the two organisations moved into the property, community organisations spent more than $600,000 to refurbish and fit-out the building.
Fletcher said since they were informed in December their lease was not going to be renewed, progress on any alternative solutions with council had been "very pedestrian".
"There's just an immense frustration – if we do have to move – at the lack of time to put things in place.
"[Regarding communication] except for the December meeting, everything has been initiated by us."
Fletcher said while they understood the council had not signed off on the plans, "it appears the council staff have surety the development will go ahead".
"We struggle to understand why the interests of a commercial developer would take precedence over two community-funded non-profit organisations, who have made significant contributions to the welfare of some of the most vulnerable families in Invercargill."
ISSN Trust chairwoman Anne Henderson said any relocation might cause both organisations to "hang by a thread economically".
"We did not forsee that our organisations would be relocated, and the grief and stress caused to these trusts in facing possible relocation is immense.
"We have always been very grateful to the council for supporting us to be in these premises and leasing them to us, and we pray that common sense will prevail in decisions that are to be made as to the future of this site."
Invercargill City Councillor Lindsay Thomas, who expressed concern over the way the matter had been handled at the council meeting on Tuesday, reiterated that council had not come to a final decision on the matter.
"As far as we're concerned, until everything's signed and written, those people should still be at that place.
"We as councillors were quite disappointed that three organisations were made to believe that council was responsible for cancelling the lease, whereas it was actually council staff."
Thomas said even if the sale was to go ahead, council would look to provide an alternative site.
"We also have an obligation to relocate them if we can find a suitable premises ... council's point of view is that relocation should be part of the whole package.
"If you look at the likes of ISSN or Number 10, there's been a lot of community money go into that, so we don't want to disadvantage them because they don't have the funding."
Council did not respond to questions the proposed development yesterday.