Updated – see end of post. A short update on the public meeting in Kilbirnie regarding the fate of the Maranui Surf Life Saving Club. It was a packed meeting – almost to the rafters – and there was no doubt where the crowd’s allegiances lay.
While Council officers and others bravely presented information and requested that now was a good time to sit back and have a good think about the options for the future, the vast mass of the crowd was having nothing to do with it. (Read our previous post for more discussion on this subject). Council’s architects had drawn up a sparse and poorly thought out list of 4 scenarios, which broadly speaking were:
Scenario 1 – Keep all 4 buildings
Scenario 2 – Keep 3 of the 4 buildings
Scenario 3 – Keep just 2 buildings
Scenario 4 – Take all the buildings down and start again – perhaps build nothing.
Probably needless to say, the sum result of that was that all 4 scenarios went down like a cup of cold sick in a burnt out shed on a cold wind-swept beachfront. A member of the crowd put the feeling into words and started the ball that we should vote for a Fifth Scenario. An immediate show of hands confirmed overwhelming support for this proposal, which was, as another crowd member succinctly put it into words: “The 5th Scenario is that we just want Maranui rebuilt, so why are we debating all this other shit?”
Scenario 5 – Rebuild Maranui, get the Club and the Cafe running again (“by Christmas!” said one voice) and leave the other buildings there until there is time and place to have a proper debate about them.
I love people power.
So: will the Council get the message? Certainly, to me and the rest of the meeting, the message was loud and clear. “The Council has a legal, moral, and spiritual obligation to rebuild the clubhouse of Maranui”, and if they chose to self insure and were stuck with a massive $500k excess, that was just tough luck. Council need to pay up, and fast.
Although that’s not really the only option. I can’t believe that the cost is really $750k to rebuild, and I think Council is having the wool pulled over their eyes, or perhaps they had included a few extras (like, apparently, some working taps and basins in the WCs would not go amiss). But a community effort on the rebuilding (there were a few builders there, watching on) and community labour would certainly get the building back on track. And yes, it could be done by Christmas.
As the great goddess of running shoes once said: “Just Do It”.
Perhaps, provocatively, Lyall Ball SLC need to base their proposed new building on a more successful model.
What is better than one beach side cafe? Two beach side cafes!
Where does this $750,000 come from? What I have trouble with understanding is that when that whole building was built way back in the day to support the lifesaving club (or whatever other function it provided), I have a hard time believed that it cost an (at that time) equivelent of $750,000? Heck no, it never would’ve been built, and they never would’ve been able to afford it. So how does repairing that same building today end up costing so much? Does the entire building need to be demolished and rebuilt?
If it is truely going to cost $750,000 then yes, I think the Council is right to consider its options carefully (granted it doesn’t always do that right, but it is the right thing to do). But if you could get the thing back into a functioning state (with sprinkers) for say $150,000 then, given the public demand, they should go ahead and get working.
erentz – my thoughts and guesses on that:
-the building was probably built with volunteer work and money way back in the day
-volunteer labour today could do it again for way less than $750k
-Council could provide replacement materials only
-it’s badly damaged inside, but not outside, so the studs are charred
-sometimes its easier to demolish and rebuild, than try to fix
-but really, this one’s all there – just fix it….
100 average place
50 top floor
50 by the sea
50 getting imaginative
Naked greed and consultants = the other $500k
Let me toss this into the mix,
All of this fuss is happening, not because of the surf club, but because of the Cafe, a COMMERCIAL business, that is inhabiting the building…..
As you say maximus, “The Council has a legal, moral, and spiritual obligation to rebuild the clubhouse of Maranui”, the big question is, “does the council have the same obligation the rebuild the commercial operation known as the Maranui Cafe”
What rent does the Cafe pay a year to the council for use of the building?…. surely this needs to be disclosed in regard to any spend that the council is being asked to make, I mean if it pays 50K a year, then it makes simple economic sense to rebuild, but if it pays 5K a year, then it is worth having a debate over…..
Couldn’t make the meeting but very pleased to read that so many did. I am a long term Lyall Bay resident and occasional cafe customer. The issue is/was never about the cafe, the issue is about that heritage building – rebuild and restore something that is unique, architecturally interesting, iconic to the coast, and a social and cultural link to the Lyall Bay/Rongotai community and its history. The building is an asset to the suburb and to the city. The deal with the cafe seemed pretty straighforward to me – the surf club did it with the cafe owners who in turn had to operate subject to WCC conditions. If the surf club wants to do the deal again then good for them – but get the building back … please.
Missed the meeting, have read all the comments and news articles…feeling outraged…How does the council self-insure and not inform the club, then decided not to cough up like any other insurer would have?
SO, what’s next?
How did the meeting conclude? Was there any reaction from the council re scenario 5? Another meeting to be arranged??
“Just Do It” and “volunteer labour” might cut it for a garden shed, but not for a heritage-listed building that needs to be sensitively restored, and probably earthquake-strengthened into the bargain. That requires professionals and careful project management, not a bunch of DIYers with hammers.
it’s a timber building – built with hammers by DIY, so it can be done again.
And Heritage my arse – it’s 3 bloody timber weatherboard boxes. What’s so heritage about that?
Everyone will be aware of the fate of the iconic Maranui building.
You may not however be aware that the Council are debating the merits of re-building this classic Wellington landmark.
Please show your support for the Surf Lifesaving Club by signing the e-petition on the WCC website
All you need to do is fill in the petition online, then respond to the automated email back from them, to sign the petition and help get this iconic building restored to it’s former glory.
Yours in surfing.
aaah, that was
Seaweed: “it’s a timber building – built with hammers by DIY, so it can be done again.” Ah, the great Kiwi cult of amateurism! “She’ll be right, mate, we’ll just swing round to Bunnings and grab a few two-by-fours, a bit of Hardies and a nailgun. We’ll whack it together by Christmas and it’ll be good as new. And while we’re at it, I know a bloke down the pub who does a nice line in aluminium windows”.
“And Heritage my arse – it’s 3 bloody timber weatherboard boxes. What’s so heritage about that?”
Right, let’s chuck out the ICOMOS charter and give up on all those pissy heritage architects, historians, archeologists and other bastards! Seaweed here can eyeball a building and tell you whether or not it’s worth anything just like that. So tell me: what would have made it heritage? 4 boxes? Being something other than weatherboard? Having a gabled roof?
Or, you could just look here for a start:
Looking for evidence of itsheritage value?
How about a hall full of passionate members of the community wanting it restored?
I’d guess that many of those who feel so strongly about it do so because they value the building’s architectural presence on the bay, its sense of connection to a past age, its links to a worthy community-based club or the very fact that it stands there prominently made with modest materials. All of that makes heritage. Oh, and the cafe.
Spend the time and money to fix it up properly and we’ll love it just as much in 5, 10 and 20 years’ time.
My understanding is the money the cafe pays to the surf club keeps the surf club going
all those lifesavers do not get paid to be lifesavers, it’s not like baywatch where lifesaving is a job.
so the money from the cafe rental … keeps the surf club going
and that’s my understanding which might be wrong
I also thought the council had a $550K excess on the building which goes towards the understanding of perhaps why the hig cost
The WCC site referenced earlier mentioned that the building was financed by club members, with a subsidy from the city council. It doesn’t mention when or on what basis the building came in to the ownership of the council. Are we sure that WCC owns it? If so, on what basis does the surf club occupy the building… are they renters? According to Sue, they have sublet part of the building for profit. If that is the case, then presumably they’re liable for damage caused by their tenant if the cafe was the cause of the fire. What responsibility, if any, does the council have to house the surf club?
For the life of me, I can’t see anything distinguished about the building. If it had burned down completely, then would we want to construct an identical building on the site? I wouldn’t. If the building structure is damaged to such an extent that the building is a write off, and assuming that the council doesn’t have a contractual responsibility to provide a club house for the surf club, then I’d be in favour of just clearing the site.
Lastly, there already seems to be another surf club at Lyall Bay. The beach isn’t dangerous. Most beaches in NZ get along quite happily without any surf rescue at all. Should WCC pay so that people whose hobby is surf lifesaving have a choice of clubs in one location? There are plenty of other things to spend the money on.
For those of you that were not at the meeting, there was a lengthy discussion over the cost and rebuilding issue.
From memory, some of those points discussed were:
• The Maranui SLSC have been in there for 98 years, and formerly owned it and insured it.
• Since 2000, the ownership was handed to WCC in exchange for the WCC to continue the maintenance and insurance. These are in the legal lease agreement.
• The SLSC and the Cafe both had Contents insurance, but not building insurance, as they thought the Council had insured the building as per the lease agreement.
• However, the Council does not insure its buildings, as collectively the amount spent would be too high.
• Instead, they chose to effectively ‘self-insure’ and hence the excess level is a very high $500,000
• Most Club type buildings around the City are now owned by the Council, and would face the same problem if their buildings burnt down.
• The Council does not rebuild most old buildings if they are burnt down – it assesses their needs and moves on if the building is not needed.
• Most clubs pay just a token “pepper-corn” rental for the use of their building.
• That was not the case with the Maranui. Because of the Cafe, they were paying a high rental, at market rates.
• The Council has turned down a loan to the neighbouring Lyall Bay Club, and hence Council felt there was an opportunity to reassess the situation.
• The meeting may have been stacked by Maranui lovers in preference to Lyall SLSC lovers, but there was scant interest in any of the proposals that Lyall SLSC and WCC were interested in.
• The meeting support was overwhelmingly in favour of restoring Maranui as it was.
Thanks for the summary, Big Beach.
Hmm, words like Heritage and Iconic really set the cat amongst the pigeons – or, perhaps more aptly in this case, the terrier amongst the seagulls. Going from Beached’s link to the Heritage listing, it’s interesting to see that:
“Maranui built its first clubhouse in 1911 with the help of the Wellington City Council…..
“M.G. Templeton built Maranui’s second clubhouse in 1930, just west of the old building. A club member, Harold Claridge, drew up the original plans. The building was one story with a section of flat roofing designed to allow for “scrutiny of the beach in case of accident.”…. The ability to build the clubhouse, which largely relied upon the fundraising ability of members and the generosity of the city council, was seen as a milestone at the time – it was a demonstration of success, and confidence in the club’s future……
“The original drawings, dated September 1930 and prepared by the WCC City Engineers Department, show a single storey building. It had a substantial concrete foundation and was timber-framed above with cladding of lapped weatherboarding and timber joinery. A large clubroom filled most of the space, with a reading room and committee room on the seaward side with a flight of steps down onto the beach. These rooms had a flat roof covered in malthoid, used as a lookout with ladder access, while the clubroom portion had a hipped roof in galvanised iron….
“The second storey extension designed by the City Engineer, which largely accounts for the present appearance of the building, was completed early in 1956…… a whole first floor was added, with a stairwell on the Lyall Bay Parade side with the two tall narrow windows that exist today, and a bay window on the seaward side. This addition is seamless, which is a rare quality….
“In 1964 a boatshed was added to the north-east side of the building, which altered the shape of the building, particularly from the sea-side. This work established the configuration of building as it appears today…. This was a boatshed and had a large roll-up door on the seaward side. These additions were sheathed in the same narrow lapped weatherboards of the addition and this cladding, combined with the flat roofs and strong geometric shapes of the different parts of the building, give it a very distinctive cubic appearance….”
So the building’s undoubted visual appeal actually lies in a series of additions, the latest in 1964, which if we were being faithful to the ICOMOS guidelines, would have to be removed, as, probably, would the other addition in 1956. But then that would remove most of the building completely, so it would seem that strict adherence to ICOMOS would not be in anyone’s best interests in the short term.
But a weatherboard building constructed from a series of additions that are larger than the original building is typical of the whole NZ way of architecture, in the residential realm. Not normally quite so much in the public realm. But one could argue (quite successfully I would have thought) that the building is botched, architecturally. It is, as Seaweed put it so eloquently, “it’s 3 bloody timber weatherboard boxes.” Mind you, probably made of rimu or even totara weatherboards, as they have lasted so well in that harsh environment.
I’ll refuse to enter the whole “Iconic” discussion because I’m sick of the overuse of that word. But if 3 boxes arranged in a certain manner can be called a recognisable icon, then I guess I’ll have to go along with that.
But there seems to be some simple things to state here, seeing as the insurance assessor has not released us (the public) with a report:
Damage internally will be severe, as that is where the fire was, and all internal linings will need replacing.
Damage externally appears minimal – unless there is damage to the internal side of the weatherboards.
Damage will likely have occurred to some – but definitely not all – structural members such as studs and dwangs.
Due to water and smoke damage, the building will need to be rewired completely, which won’t be that difficult as the internal linings will be replaced also.
There was probably no insulation anywhere in the building, as it was before the 1972 requirement for insulation.
Typically in a fire, water and smoke often cause more damage than fire – the smoke because of the smell that gets everywhere, and the water because all the linings and carpet and belongings are ruined.
The roof has presumably burnt through, so the rain will have got in as well.
Given that it is largely fine on the outside (and yes, I have had a look up close) and that there are local builders keen to help, there is no doubt that it could be restored without a giant hoo-haa. New H3 pinus radiata studs can be fixed to existing studs. If there are sections of weatherboards to renew, that’s a very simple job that most home owners do themselves. So the work load is:
Complete strip out and fix studs etc.
Insulate, rewire and then reline internally.
Cafe then to redo their fitout too.
Right now, I need some eggs on toast by the beach. Not much choice in a seaside city surrounded by beaches, which is an appalling state to be in.
Big Beach>Since 2000, the ownership was handed to WCC in exchange for the WCC to continue the maintenance and insurance. These are in the legal lease agreement.
What was the reason for the transfer? I can’t see what WCC gained from the transaction.
Also, do we know how many members there are of the surf club? If there are 100, then WCC will be paying $7,500 each for them to have a choice of Lyall Bay locations from which to pursue their hobby. But it wouldn’t surprise me if the active membership was much less than that… maybe 20 or 30 people… in which case the subsidy per person starts to get really big.
I’ve been very hesitant to wade into this debate because I have to admit I just don’t get it, but I’m an outsider. The first time visiting Lyall Bay after arriving in Wellington I was shocked by how dilapidated the beach front was. I didn’t even realise the buildings were open to the public because they looked like firetraps. Therefore I’ve never been in them and so can’t reflect on any personal connection with the experience or services provided. The connection to the buildings themselves however strikes me as a celebration of mediocrity that is fairly prevalent in New Zealand.
There are some things that I can understand about the debate. The WCC is really screwing over the club and cafe by their arrangement. The lease arrangement and lack of insurance is another example of how WCC privileges large corporations over small businesses. There is some really rotten stench coming from the way WCC does business with the local vendors in this city and everyone needs to step up and challenge it before every wellington based cafe, retail shop, and professional services firm has been completely locked out of bidding in favour of large multi-nationals.
I can understand the reaction to not want a new building, particularly when seeing the proposal that Archaus has put forward for the other club. People shouldn’t confuse the hatred for that style of hideous rubbish with the issue of whether a new building should be built. The existing building had nothing architecturally that was distinct about it, which appears to be what people are responding to in the Archaus proposal. They don’t want a “modern” corrugated steel and glass building. Fine. There is no reason that a simple, understated weatherboard building can’t be constructed. It doesn’t have to be soaring rooflines, a mish mash of materials, or other “iconographic” forms and materials.
The one question for me is about the functions vs. the building itself. People seem to very attached to the cafe and club functions, but are confusing it with the building. If the building had been unoccupied or had been used for storage or some other function, would you want to restore it if there had been a fire? From what I’ve read it appears that people are far more attached to the functions than the building itself
yes, i’d largely agree. There are, as has been said here before, 3 separate things going on:
Love for the Surf Club
Love for the Cafe
Love for the Building
My guess is that there are people like yourself, who may only have known the building.
There are others who just like being in a cafe by the sea.
And there are others who are the long time Surf Club members.
And of course there are combinations of all three.
Interestingly, judging from the complete lack of interest in the Lyall Bay Surf Club proposals, and their own completely separate conundrum (“Burn your own club down too” said one local wit at the meeting), there may be some equal amount of love for the Lyall Surf Club, but none for their current or proposed buildings. And because they have no cafe, nor facilities for such, then no love for that.
So my answer to Lyall would be : get a cafe in your new building. Wellington needs more beach-side cafes.
“What was the reason for the transfer? I can’t see what WCC gained from the transaction….
Also, do we know how many members there are of the surf club?”
I’m not an authority on it, but at the meeting, a Maranui spokesman said that before the cafe started, membership was down to about 20. Currently, membership is far higher (not sure of the number – perhaps a figure near 200? ) .
But of course the interesting thing is that in the cafe, at last when they started, you had to join the Club and sign the book of membership. If that is in any way legal membership of the Club, then membership now would be in the tens of thousands. ie massive support from wider Wellington for the Cafe, probably minor support from locals only for the actual Club itself. As Max says, the Building itself is another issue entirely.
No sympathy at all for Lyall Bay Club. Their building proposal is truly awful and inappropriate. if they want sympathy and a Council handout, I’d suggest they get a better design / designer for a start.
Would it be possible for the building to be rebuilt in a way that incorporates the lyall bay club? Would it be possible for the cafe to sign a long term lease (at market rates) with the council in order to offset some of the rebuild cost?
There’s definitely a cluster**** of stakeholders and interest groups at the moment. All (except the council) want the thing rebuilt, except nobody (including the council) seems to be willing to pay for it. The SuperBuilding idea that the council put forward makes the most economic sense, and appeases both of the clubs, but why does it require a new building? Cant we just put the proposed programme of the SuperBuilding into a restored OriginalBuilding?
in short: No.
Sworn enemies – one Surf Club versus the other. While that may make perfect sense to you or I, the Lyalls and the Maranuis wouldn’t have a bar of it.
A little bit like the Montagues and Capulets.
… a plague upon both your Houses…
however, the Council would at least like to design in a new set of toilets for beach users, and at present these are planned for the Lyall redevelopment. No reason why they couldn’t instead be put in the ground floor of the Maranui instead.
apropos the council, clubs, fires and moral obligations, does anyone know the details of the Wellington Basketball Association and their fire? it was some years ago (20?) and as a result, the council built the Madgwick Stadium on to the Southern end of the Winter Show Buildings (now know as Te Whaea). I beleive (and I am happy to stand corrected) that the council paid for the new stadium and is equally committed to the WBA now through their participation in the new indoor stadium at Rongotai. I’m sure there are many basketballers out there that can explain what happened, the poltiics and who paid. it might prove to be a useful precedent for those putting up a similar argument now…
Big Beach>I’m not an authority on it, but at the meeting, a Maranui spokesman said that before the cafe started, membership was down to about 20.
Thanks BB. So it looks like a core of 20 who are interested in surf life saving, and a couple of hundred hangers on who like the commercial profit making cafe. I’m presuming that no one thinks that WCC has a responsibility to provide premises to cafe owners, and all other cafes manage to rent their premises commercially. That means that if a rebuild costs, say $500k, then every core member of the club receives a subsidy of $25k, just because (for reasons no one understands) they don’t want to join the club just down the road.
Presumably WCC paid the club for the building when they bought it. That would have been a large sum and could be used by the club to build themselves a new club house if they think that expenditure of half a million bucks is worth it just so they don’t have to join their neighbouring club. They must have considered the prospect that acts of god might cause their lease to be terminated early when they sold the place, otherwise they wouldn’t have sold it.
In the mean time, I’ve just formed the Oriental Bay Surf Life Saving Club. I’m expecting WCC to build me some cool clubrooms on Oriental Parade. On the beach side of the road, of course. I’d be quite happy with the blue Archaus design, as long as it has room for me to run a cafe out of. I’m willing to pay a nominal rent.
“So it looks like a core of 20 who are interested in surf life saving, and a couple of hundred hangers on who like the commercial profit making cafe.”
aaah, no. The spokesman said that interest in the Surf Club itself had blossomed, quite apart from the Cafe issues. And no, I understand that the Council did not pay a cent when they took over the building. – I am not privy to info as to why or how the building was sold.
Good luck with that Oriental Bay Surf Club !
re: the debate over reasons why people are up in arms…
a lot has to do with context.. perhaps if there was no cafe, people wouldnt be so interested in the building, on the other hand perhaps the cafe has brought attention to a formerly little acknowledged building – and therfore the two issues have become mixed in a lot of people’s eyes.
i feel that it’s perhaps a little like the espressaholic debate… there was shock when they were turfed out of their courtenay place location… now they have moved, it’s possible that the new cafe on courtenay and the new espressaholic on cuba both now suffer as a result because neither is the old ‘espressaholic’ which worked because of a combination of factors which is now lacking in both.
cafe’s are a fickle thing… sometimes they work, sometimes they fail. there is no guarantee that maranui cafe which people know and love would work if it were situated in a new or different building.
commercial interests do have a place in the debate. especially if it turns out that the cafe as leaseholders feel that the council doesnt live up to obligations set out in their agreement. cafes and businesses can form the core of communities. they are the kind of meeting places which in this case did not exist beforehand. the drive to reinvigorate the waterfront of lyall bay can in part be owed to the increased attention that has come from having a ‘destination’ cafe on the beach – therefore i think that in this case, the commercial interests of the cafe have to be taken into account.
Some more great analysis on the issue to be found over here:
Such a delightful turn of phrase, I thought I should use it for this comment from the UK’s the Guardian newspaper:
“The cultural life of Britain would be vastly improved if we could obliterate the word heritage from our vocabulary. I can’t understand how it has taken root so deep in our language, like a poisonous weed growing on a gothic ruin, eating up imagination and curiosity.
What an ugly word it is, to begin with. Why heritage, exactly? Why not inheritance – a much more forceful and imperative word? But that’s the point: to call historic art and buildings our inheritance would suggest a heavy burden of debt. The effect of the word heritage is, by contrast, to mute and disempower history and weaken our sense of relationship with it. It is the linguistic equivalent of a mock-Tudor cottage, reducing memory to nostalgia.
It entered our vocabulary in the Tory 1980s, when Thatcherite governments deliberately applied the word to a vast area of architecture, museums and art. By rights it should have faded away with John Major.
The problem with heritage is that it immediately, by a stroke of the pen, consigns what it denotes to a cosy, insignificant past. It implies that everything historical is irrelevant. Heritage smothers great art, great buildings and indeed great history in a clotted-cream fudge of coy comfiness.”
Mmmm, that man has got issues. I wonder what he’d think of our ‘heritage’ in Maranui. You can read the rest of it at :
C’mon guys, admit it. The building is really ugly.
There are two surf clubs in Lyall Bay – one patrols the beach and carries out the various duties expected of a surf club. The other one, Maranui, doesn’t do those things – it enters competitions and no doubt the members have fun, but they don’t give their time to patrolling etc. This isn’t a big beach, it doesn’t need two surf clubs.
The surf clubs should combine and get a building that is fit for purpose. The community should support that effort in whatever way it can.
The council should fix the burnt building, it is iconic. The cafe could rent it from the council which would overtime recover the insurance excess. The same council was happy for fork out thousands to a fish zoo and cafe that didn’t even happen.
– The other one, Maranui, doesn’t do those things – it enters competitions and no doubt the members have fun, but they don’t give their time to patrolling etc. This isn’t a big beach, it doesn’t need two surf clubs.
Gosh the level of ignorance written in some of these posts astounds me.
In terms of patrolling – Maranui Surf Lifesaving Club patrol Wellington’s busiest beach – Oriental Bay.
This is a service that is crucial for Wellington City.
Lyall Bay Surf Club patrols Lyall Bay. There are two surf clubs on the one beach, because – if you think about it – those southerly conditions, are the PERFECT training conditions for the best surf life savers in the region. You can’t do that kind of training on Oriental Bay, even Island Bay.
Lyall Bay has and always will have enough space and the right conditions for two clubs. Having two clubs has also raised the bar and level of competition between the two clubs.
The Nippers programme run by Maranui currently has too many kids wanting to join. The success of the club and it’s popularity has increased since it made the sensible decision to put a cafe in. This funds the club and their equipment.
Anyone who has been to Australia will know this is standard practice for surf life saving clubs.
“Gosh the level of ignorance written in some of these posts astounds me.”
Pray tell? i thought there were some good comments up there.
Yes, curious that Maranui don’t work their own beach, and leave that to the Capulets / Lyalls. But understandable that they aren’t really tested on Ori Bay. Although, long way back to the clubrooms for a drink of water….?
The building can be eye catching in the right light.
Well yes, but then so can an empty cardboard box.
It IS striking, I’ll agree, but it is just a simple red door and a staircase with a shadow. Not that much to it. I reckon there is a lot of care and consideration of the weatherboard cladding – as to whether the actual weatherboards are heritage items, or is it just the 3mm of paint on the outside?
No one who has the temerity to build on Wellington’s South Coast has any right to imagine their creation will survive to have heritage status.
Not really that impressed by the debate here.
A scruffy old shed owned by a moribund surf club.
The club unloaded the shed onto the Council in return for use of it at a peppercorn rental.
At some much later stage the council agreed to let a commercial concern (the cafe) occupy the building.
The space was never intended for a cafe,was never built or wired to a commercial standard and surprise surprise it burned down.
Now ratepayers have to pay $750,000 so a happy bunch of campers can continue to enjoy their lattes, because apparently the cafe paid a “commercial” rate for the space.
I don’t think so. I have no issue with inviting a commercial business to bid for a 20 year lease over the site and fund a commercial build for commercial purposes – I like beachfront cafes too, but I fail to see why ratepayers need to be in the business of bankrolling them.
gareth – harsh, so harsh. “The club unloaded the shed onto the Council in return for use of it at a peppercorn rental.” That’s a very cynical, but quite possibly true, reason – but then on the other hand, up until the Surf club handed over ownership, the building had been insured.
Like I keep saying, there are 3 issues at stake here – a Club, a Building, and a Cafe.
I’d say that you are getting them muddled up as well. Put the issue of the Cafe aside. Just look at the Building: If you had handed over your building to someone else, who had promised to keep insuring it, and then it burned down and it turned out someone hadn’t bothered to insure it, wouldn’t you be all pissed off as well?
Bang on, Gareth. Harsh but true. I liked the cafe, very much. But the fire has rather cruelly exposed how much it and the club were cushioned by the public purse. If the building had been privately insured, the cost would have been reflected in the rent. But they avoided that cost by having it underwritten by the council. As for rent, a council committee report from May 2008 recommends renewing the lease for 10 years at a rental of $8000 a year + GST. It also refers to a maintenance fee of $2393 + GST/yr and a compliance fee of $1593 + GST/yr. So apparently the occupancy cost was $11986/yr, or $230 a week. Would any competing cafe operators go a little green at that, I wonder?
This isn’t to say that restoring the building would be wrong, it wouldn’t be good to have the cafe back, etc. But I think it means the debate should be exactly as Gareth suggests: is this a building, a club and a business that merits continuing public subsidy, and the capital injection necessary to keep it going? It’s not about whether the council is a miserable, bureaucratic outfit disconnected from the community, because in this case that charge is, well, a bit harsh.
Just a point of clarification from the happy, snappy and well-connected Council. I may be proven wrong in detail but as far as I know the Maranui building has always been ‘owned’ by the Council. I think the ‘hand-over’ by the club to the Council a few years ago was based more on changing the terms of the lease to give the Council more responsibility for maintenance and upkeep of the building. I’m no expert on sticking links to other sites – but there’s quite a bit about Maranui on the Council’s website here – my attempt at a link is below. It appears much of the design of the various phases of the building over the years was handled by the Council City Engineer’s Department.
Richard MacLean – WCC Ext Comms
Thanks for the clarification Richard – that makes more sense. Any idea on the length of time that Council will need to make a decision? After the Strategy and Policy meeting presumably – on 3rd November? I don’t see it on the agenda yet:
Report 1 – Portfolio: Governance
Report of the Council Controlled Organisation Performance Subcommittee Meeting of Friday 23 October 2009
Report 2 – Portfolio: Governance
Policy Programme 2010/12 and Improvements for Advice Delivery
Report 3 – Portfolio: Organisational
Report 4 – Portfolio: Environment
Resolution to classify land vested in the Council through subdivision as reserve land
Report 5 – Portfolio: Urban Development and Transport
Report 6 – Portfolio: Urban Development and Transport
Oral Hearings – Resident Parking and Coupon Parking Schemes
Report 7 – Portfolio: Urban Development and Transport
Oral Hearings – 2009/10 Draft Waterfront Development Plan
I think the report’s being written for a meeting in the week beginning 16 November. But I’ll double-check that and get back to you.
R MacLean – WCC Ext Comms
Ok, well assuming all of the sudden surf lovers get their way and the council agrees to rebuild the shed (sorry cafe)
I would like to bid $231 a week for the right to operate as a commercial cafe. I am prepared to pay MORE than the commercial rate – This is to ensure that I do my bit for the ratepayers of Wellington.
I make this offer in the spirit of humble altruism, and my desire to support the important lifesaving services of the Maranui Surf lifesaving club.
I will even pay $0.02 from the cost of every latte towards sponsoring Club activities. What more can I say. But in exchange for this generosity, I will need the Council to agree to my 3am license.