Bid to stop sale of vacant city council property

151-153 Gilberthorpes Rd, Hei Hei, has been earmarked as surplus to requirements by the city...
151-153 Gilberthorpes Rd, Hei Hei, has been earmarked as surplus to requirements by the city council. Photo: Star Media
Community representatives are preparing to contest a proposal to sell a Christchurch building that could potentially be used by a range of organisations.

The property at 151 and 153 Gilberthorpes Rd, Hei Hei, has been earmarked for sale in Christchurch City Council’s draft Long Term Plan 2021-2031.

Halswell-Hornby-Riccarton Community Board chairman Mike Mora said the board was not happy with the idea of selling the property.

Mike Mora.
Mike Mora.
“We’re doing consultation with the community now and we hope the city council will revisit that decision,” Mora said.

Until January the site tenant was Te Puawautanga Ki Otautahi, a provider of a range of health, education and social services.

Mora believed the space had “slipped through the cracks.”

When considering selling properties, the city council looks at whether the property is being used for the purpose it was acquired and also if there are immediate alternatives.

The building was in use until January, and community groups had only recently realised it was vacant, he said.

In a survey carried out by the Greater Hornby Residents Association, 84 per cent of the 320 responders were against selling the property if community interest was proven.

Association chairman Marc Duff said he would use answers to the survey in contesting the proposal.

“We’ve decided, all the interested parties, have decided to hold back until it goes to council.”

The Gilberthorpes Rd building was used by Te Puawautanga Ki Otautahi until last year. Photo: Star...
The Gilberthorpes Rd building was used by Te Puawautanga Ki Otautahi until last year. Photo: Star News
A delegation would speak to the council on April 7, he said.

“There is a need for that facility in the community, there’s quite a bit of interest from the community.”

Initially a church building, it had then been intended to be used as a multicultural centre, he said.

“Some of the groups that have expressed an interest in the building actually fit the criteria of that multicultural use.”

“There appears to be a real need for it.”

However, a staff report included in the area report of the most recent community board meeting stated that the site did not meet the criteria for it to be retained and was declared as surplus.

“Actions to implement that decision are currently underway. Investigations under section 40 of the public works act 1981 have been undertaken, and it has been confirmed that the property must be offered back to the original owners.

“Initial contact has been made with the original owners and will be followed up with a formal letter accompanied by a market valuation assessment for their consideration of whether or not to accept.”

The community board would be updated as the situation progressed, the report said.

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