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Carter in bid for pensioner properties

Carter Society, which runs Carter Court in Carterton, has asked to buy SWDC’s senior housing stock. PHOTO/EMILY IRELAND

A not-for-profit organisation has asked to buy South Wairarapa District Council’s pensioner housing units “for a peppercorn price”.

In return, it would upgrade the units and build more to enhance the lives of elderly people “to enable them to live as they want to and in a way that protects and enhances their mana”.

Carter Society, which offers hospital-level care to the elderly in Carterton, has put a proposal to the council, which met yesterday and discussed the idea.

Carter Society was gifted Carterton District Council’s portfolio in 2016.

It runs a 40-bed care home and hospital, 41 pensioner housing units, and six retirement village units.

It also has a land bank for future development.

Selling council-owned pensioner housing to a community housing provider was a suggestion in South Wairarapa District Council’s [SWDC] annual plan consultation document for 2016-17.

At the time, the idea never progressed.

SWDC pensioner housing includes eight units at Burling Flats and six at Matthews Flats in Featherston.

Greytown has six flats at Westhaven, and Martinborough has 12 flats at Cecily Martin.

Carter Society chairwoman Sharon Parker said in a letter to Mayor Alex Beijen that it was time to “revisit this issue”.

“We propose that SWDC transfer [for a peppercorn price] all its pensioner housing units and associated land in Featherston, Greytown, and Martinborough to Carter Society.

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“Although this is our preferred option, we understand this raises a number of issues for the SWDC which may take some considerable time to resolve.

“An alternative would be to lease the land and buildings [peppercorn rental] to Carter Society on a long-term basis, say 15 years with three rights of renewal.

“This would provide Carter Society with certainty as it undertook new developments and enhancement of current buildings.”

Parker said the proposal would benefit the council and would be a “win-win for all parties: current and future pensioner housing residents, SWDC, and Carter Society”.

The pensioner housing units were built many years ago and in the not-too-distant future will require additional upgrades in heating, insulation, kitchens, and bathrooms, Parker said..

“Carter Society would undertake this work at no cost to SWDC.

“In addition, there is substantial available land around the current housing stock suitable for new builds.

“Carter Society would undertake the new building programme.

“This would be a small but significant addition to the SWDC housing stock. This could all happen quite quickly.”

Parker said Carter Society runs its pensioner housing from in-house resources.

“As we have grown, it is clear that this is not a long-term proposition.

“If we combined the SWDC’s 31 units and our 41 units, we would be able to recruit specifically for managing this portfolio; that would be to everyone’s advantage.” — NZLDR

  • Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air.

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