Public comment urged on licensing trust proposal

Clutha Licensing Trust headquarters Rosebank Lodge, in Balclutha, will be one of the businesses sold if the public supports the trust's latest proposals. Photo: Supplied
Clutha Licensing Trust headquarters Rosebank Lodge, in Balclutha, will be one of the businesses sold if the public supports the trust's latest proposals. Photo: Supplied
The Clutha Licensing Trust has acknowledged some staff may be affected by a proposed divestment of its businesses, out for public consultation today.

In advertising for the latest phase, the trust says it expects its businesses to continue ''in much the same way'', though some elements may be adversely affected.

The trust owns and operates five hotels and one liquor store in the district, collectively employing about 80 staff.

A recent staff consultation process received only a ''disappointing'' number of responses and the trust was hoping for greater engagement from the Clutha community, chairman Steve Morris told the Otago Daily Times.

''We won't be able to state precisely what will happen to the trust until we've heard back from the community that owns it. We have a firm proposal for people, and have left it open to them to comment.''

Mr Morris said, if necessary, he was prepared for people ''to vent''.

''We want to know what people want to do. We're going to get what we get [in feedback].''

The trust's advertisement said the proposal was due to diminishing returns from the current business model.

Sale of its assets and the formation of a community investment trust with the proceeds was likely to create ''a lasting legacy'', and allow distributions to be made to the community.

In its 2017-18 financial results, the trust generated $92,414 in profits, on an asset base of $6,918,888.

Although Mr Morris and his board of trustees were backing the ''transformative'' plan, he said nothing would be finalised until consultation ended on September 10.

''You just don't know which way people will lean.''

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