Options for council’s senior housing on the table
Buller District Council will receive a report this week that outlines the current situation of council’s senior housing stock and profiles six options for the future management and ownership.
Acting group manager community services Krissy Trigg says: “In the 2021-2031 Long Term Plan councillors decided that council will continue to manage its senior housing for the first three-years of the plan.”
The Annual Plan 2022-2023 states that council will continue to operate its current senior housing units until June 2024 but will not construct any new housing for seniors. Once 2024 is reached senior housing will be provided to the community through an alternative operating model.
Ms Trigg says:” Although 2024 is not too far away, we want to continue to work on this strategic issue and highlight the options now for our new council to make this central decision.
Council sees the importance of providing affordable accommodation to our senior residents and we are working proactively on this to ensure the best solution is found for our community.”
The six options include that council could continue to own and manage the units, the units could be sold to an accredited community trust or government agency, council passes on the ownership to a council-controlled organisation, trust or joint venture, the units will be leased out, the ownership remains with council but rent will be increased to cover costs, or the units will be sold on the private market.
In February 2020 council established the Housing for Seniors Steering Group to investigate, consider options and evaluate the social and financial implications of a change in ownership and management of council’s housing for the elderly.
Ms Trigg says: “As a Steering Group we have listed all possible options and we will follow up with a further much more detailed report, that includes a financial analysis as well as highlighting the long-term impact on the community of each option.”
The housing units are aging assets with the majority of the units being over 40-years old, requiring ongoing maintenance and upgrades.
Ms Trigg says:” Once elected, we will seek clarification from our new council around what direction to take. Councillors’ decision will take into account all aspects including the costs associated with running and maintaining the units to ratepayers.”
Ms Trigg says: “The wellbeing of our older residents is paramount and we are aware that this early discussion may make our existing tenants and their whanau feel anxious and uneasy.
At this stage no decision has been made, and we will keep our tenants, their families and the community updated.”
Currently council is owning and managing 34 units in the Buller district. All the units are one-bedroom (24 single and 22 double bedroom size). These are located mainly in Westport and Reefton with a small number of flats available in Karamea.
All units are currently occupied with the flood repairs and refurbishment on the Henley Street flats completed earlier this year.
The 12 senior housing units on Peel Street, McAuley Flats, will be transferred back to the Roman Catholic Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Wellington (the Archbishop) as per the lease agreement between Buller District Council and the Archbishop on the lease expiry date of 30 November 2022.
For more information please contact:
Acting group manager community services