The Dunedin City Council plans to sell surplus land and
property over the next two to three years in a move expected to
raise about $10 million.
About 150 surplus parcels of land and property to be offered
are expected to bring at least $5 million.
Several bigger pieces of property, including surplus land at
Logan Park and the Caledonian Bowling Club in Andersons Bay
Rd, are also scheduled for sale in the same period and are
expected to bring in about another $5 million.
Council economic development and property group manager
Robert Clark discussed the plan with councillors this week
during annual plan discussions, putting his case for
employing a staff member to run the sale process.
Mr Clark said a survey of property used by all council
departments was done about a year ago and surplus property
It was mainly land and included leftover areas of property
bought to widen roads or unneeded land at the edge of
Some property was difficult to value because of its size or
location, and the biggest piece might be worth several
hundred thousand dollars.
A list of the properties would not be made public because of
commercial sensitivities, but any potentially contentious
sales would be brought to the council first.
One or two properties had already been sold, but selling
properties in earnest would start within the next few months,
once a person was employed to look after the process.
Councillors wanted to know why a salesperson was needed when
the council already worked with real estate agents.
Mr Clark told them real estate agents were not necessarily
interested in the best deal for the council - more in
securing their commission.
There were also legislative issues around some of the
property better dealt with by a person with specialist
Asked by Cr Richard Thomson why no revenue from sales was
included in draft budgets presented to councillors, Mr Clark
said it was not wise to include revenue from sales in budgets
when there was no guarantee when sales would be completed.
The sale to Ngai Tahu of a piece of surplus land at Logan
Park, for example, required public consultation and various
consents to be in place first.
While he was ''very positive'' the sale was going to happen,
it would be wrong to budget to get $2 million, because it
might or might not happen in a certain year.
He confirmed to deputy mayor Chris Staynes any revenue from
the sale of surplus land and property would go towards debt
Cr David Benson-Pope asked if council-controlled companies
were going through the same process, and was told by chief
executive Dr Sue Bidrose it was one of the matters the
council's new group chief financial officer, Grant McKenzie,
To a question from Cr Lee Vandervis, Mr Clark said he would
still like to build up the council's property portfolio
because of the potentially significant financial gains it
offered, but that was ''on the back-burner'' because the
council was ''not allowed'' to raise debt, only repay it.
Cr John Bezett told Mr Clark if he believed it would benefit
the council, he should bring a report to councillors.
Mr Clark said a plan had been written in conjunction with
PricewaterhouseCoopers, which prompted Cr Thomson to ask Mr
Clark if he saw the council as a property investment company.
Mr Clark said his job was to invest in property on the
Dr Bidrose then intervened to make it clear more property
investment was not an option for the council at this stage.
''There is clarity that borrowing money for property
investment, until we reach the financial strategy top target
of $200 million debt, is highly unlikely to be something we
put to [the council] as a priority.''
Cr Thomson replied: ''My personal view is it should never be
put to us as a priority, because we are not a property