An Auckland Transport owned building in Stanmore Bay, which is leased by Auckland Council’s property arm, Panuku Development, cannot currently be re-let because of the state that it is in.
The residential area on the first floor of the building at 1 Brightside Road was described as being “in a disgusting state” by members of the Hibiscus Coast Men’s Shed who looked through it recently with a view to leasing it. The organisation is currently leasing the ground floor while it raises funds for its purpose-built shed in Silverdale (see story below).
Men’s Shed chair Maurice Browning says he was shocked at the “near-derelict” condition of the upper floor, which had recently been vacated.
“Wallpaper was peeling off and it was damp, mouldy, and filthy,” Mr Browning says. “We were retching from the smell. I am surprised that the landlord would let the building get into this condition.”
He says members of the Men’s Shed have a wealth of practical knowledge and believe a lot of the issues appear to be structural, including leaks from the roof.
He says Panuku inspected the building and advised the Men’s Shed that if they were to lease the property, they would need to do interior work at their expense, including new carpet and wallpaper, hanging new doors and fitting a new kitchen and toilet. The charitable trust would then be charged rental of around $17,500 a year for the whole building – a sum that Panuku told Mr Browning is well below market rental.
“Panuku said they would fix up the outside, including roof repairs, at a cost of around $30,000-$40,000, and the interior was up to us, but must be brought to their standard,” Mr Browning says. “We’re not going to live in it, so we are only happy to fit it out for our work purposes.”
Hibiscus & Bays Local Board deputy chair, Janet Fitzgerald, says Panuku and Auckland Transport are meeting to discuss the issue, after which they will talk with local board members. Until then, Mrs Fitzgerald is not able to comment further. However, she says that they are aware of the reported state of the building and want to see it for themselves. “It is one reason why we want to talk with Panuku,” she says.
Hibiscus Matters asked Panuku whether, as landlord, it was aware of the condition of the building and why it was allowed to deteriorate to this extent. Portfolio manager Ian Wheeler, says that prior to expiry of the lease, Panuku inspected the premises and advised the tenant that they would need to vacate so repairs could be carried out. “The tenant expressed interest in re-leasing the premises, subject to repair works and Panuku is in discussion with them,” Mr Wheeler says. Work is due to commence shortly.
Men’s Shed faces funding hurdle
The Hibiscus Men’s Shed, which has been working towards establishing a purpose-built facility on the Hibiscus Coast since 2015, has reached a critical point with several funding applications that would enable it to build a shed in Silverdale turned down.
Men’s Sheds operate around the country. They consist of not-for-profit community workshops where, for a small fee, members can drop in for a chat and to work on practical tasks. As well as the satisfaction of the work itself, a large part of the Men’s Shed’s popularity and success comes from the opportunity to talk with others, bringing recognised mental health benefits.
Chair Maurice Browning says that after being turned down by large funding bodies including Foundation North and Lotto, the organisation has been forced to change tack.
With the total project estimated to cost around $760,000 the group has now divided this into thirds and is looking at funding each portion as a separate stage.
He says the response from funders has been disappointing and frustrating, particularly given the support of the Hibiscus & Bays Local Board, which has provided a site in Silverdale, near the rugby club.
“Even mentioning the benefits for men’s mental health, and dementia, has not raised a single cent,” he says.
The Hibiscus Men’s Shed is now looking for sponsorship and help from local businesses to build a slab and driveway, then the shed itself, followed by the fit-out.
He says the local Men’s Shed is not alone in its funding difficulties – with sheds in other parts of the country taking as long as a decade to become established.
In the meantime, the organisation is hoping to expand to other parts of the building it already occupies, at 1 Brightside Road (see story above).
Mr Browning says the Hibiscus Men’s Shed has until the end of this year to start building at Silverdale – or at least get earthworks done and the slab down – before its resource consent will run out. The time and money involved in re-applying for consent is something the group can ill afford, he says.
Anyone who can help, phone Maurice, 027 279 0179.