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Opinion Piece - Striking The Right Balance – Maximising Value From Council-owned Property

As Council grapples with the mounting costs across Horowhenua, a renewed focus is emerging on leveraging existing land holdings to maximise benefits for our community. Some parcels have been repurposed or redeveloped, yielding benefits that far outweigh the costs of upkeep. However, in other cases, the maintenance expenses surpass the value our community gains from the land, especially considering the pressing challenges in the affordable housing sector and the untapped potential of certain properties.

To ensure Council is extracting the maximum value from its assets, be it environmental, social, financial, or cultural, a thorough review of current properties is underway. Soon, these properties will enter consultation phases to determine their future status and potential disposal. Additionally, we're exploring properties with flexible usage options, with some unrestricted ones possibly heading directly to the market.

It's a delicate balancing act, but Council is rising to the challenge, actively seeking solutions that benefit all stakeholders. Through careful deliberation, we're striving to optimise our property holdings while prioritising the wellbeing of our communities.

Back in 2014, Council embarked on the journey of identifying essential properties and those suitable for sale. In 2015, the public was actively engaged in shaping the Property Strategy before giving it the green light. This Strategy now serves as our guiding map, steering Council towards informed decisions regarding property investments and divestments.

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With the introduction of the Housing Action Plan in 2019 and its recent review, we've expanded our property considerations, emphasising our commitment to creating avenues for affordable housing initiatives. This proactive approach underscores our dedication to allocating public resources where they can make the most significant impact for our community's benefit.

In essence, refining Council's property ownership portfolio isn't solely about financial management; it also reflects our careful consideration for governance and community wellbeing outcomes. Through this process, we're reaffirming our commitment to delivering crucial opportunities for our community while responsibly managing public assets for the benefit of all, now and into the future. It's a community-driven initiative that resonates with us all, and one we can wholeheartedly support.

Mayor Bernie Wanden

Horowhenua District Council

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