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Monday
Aug112014

The Treasury

One particular item of interest appears in the CEO's Diary for the month of June that goes to the Meeting on 14 August.

Hammond met with Morrie Dunwoodie and they:

"Discussed ways that the Treasury could explore alternative funding streams including pricing for the council to retrieve archives from its Auckland storage and store at the Treasury".

This is interesting for a number of reasons. Firstly, Council has already contributed well in excess of $600,000 towards the re-building of the old Carnegie Library for the Heritage Trust that administers the building on what was strongly argued at the time was to be a "district" facility which would attract records from around the District and be available for all to access. It is not clear that this objective has been achieved to the level envisaged.

The completed facility is undoubtedly a credit to all concerned, and in particular to the enthusiiasm and commitment of it pomoters - principally Morrie and Geraldine. I remain to be convinced as the architectural merit of the addition, but that is irrelevant.

What is clear is that the Trust is in some financial difficulty - probably as a result of not meeting its budgetted income stream from research that it believed would be undertaken by a great number of people anxious to explore family roots and district history. Operating costs, particularly for heating and the highly specialised air conditioning systems must be substantial, and hence the need to "explore alternative funding streams."

The suggestion that council archives may be retrieved from Auckland storage to be placed at the Treasury may have merit, but requires close examination in order to establish the commercial logic of such an arrangement, and the appropriateness of public Council records being stored in a mixed facility where space is shared with family and other private records. There are apparently already space problems as attics are emptied.

What Council must avoid is becoming further embroiled in the financial arrangements of this Trust - the commitment to date has for one reason or another been far greater than was originally envisaged concerned with building over-runs, and worthy as the Trust objectives may be, it must not become in any way a Council responsibility.

The current trustees are mostly elderly, and along with a great many other organisations on the Peninsula, their ability to service what they have built may in time become moot. The younger members of the community appear to have only a limited interest, and we need to remain vigilant regarding what has been a substantial Council investment.

 

 

 

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Reader Comments (4)

The Treasury have had more than their share of largesse from the District Council. Unfortunately, more largesse will continue to be doled out to them because of the right wing political connections within the Treasury and the current elected Council.

One would struggle to find a better example of the hick-town benefits of cronyism than displayed by this conglomeration of community denizens.

The simple fact is that the Treasury, as led by the D+D artifactual architects are the biggest social welfare beneficiaries in the District.

Its time John Key and Paula Bennett broadened their minds on this subject!

August 12, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterarty factual

12.09.2014

At our recent AGM one of our very concerned members read out your blog to everyone present, and moved that the committee rebut the incorrect statements in it, either on your blog or in the newspaper. As a result of the Trust’s committee meeting yesterday we make the following points:

The continued implication (which we have previously asked you to correct) that The Trust’s project has cost the Council a lot of money is extremely annoying. The work done on the building was to bring the building up to current earthquake standards so that it could still be used, and to do badly-needed maintenance after many years of neglect. The Council had to decide whether to demolish it or upgrade it. This decision was made well before the Trust knew the building would be available to use. We submitted an application to lease it, as did other parties. I am disappointed to see you raise again the following misleading and malicious statement - “Council has already contributed well in excess of $600,000 towards the re-building of the old Carnegie Library for the Heritage Trust”. The money was not spent for our use. We ask you to be accurate in the statements you make. In addition, the Trust was directly responsible for securing a $100,000 Lotteries grant towards Council‘s restoration to help keep their costs down. Our part in this is never mentioned, nor is the sum subtracted from Council’s total costs. Nor is the fact that the Council totally paid for both land and building for the Museum. They lease a building from Council, so do we – our purpose is no different.

Each of your other comments is also totally unfounded or incorrect. We have always looked at every avenue of funding and will continue to do so! We are not in financial straits as our recent audited accounts show. Our collection is regional – material has been handed in from all over the TCDC/HDC region. No research facility has large numbers of visitors – which is why we investigate all possible sources of income. There is no problem storing different types of records together – the archive room is restricted to designated personnel for filing and retrieving purposes only. Our age – why should this be a problem? We have young people on committee, and our webmaster reports that over half the visitors to our website are under 35! As you yourself know, there are a lot of years after retirement to fill in. Some of us consider ourselves very lucky to have this very positive interest and commitment in our retirement. And finally - this project is solely for the benefit of the wider community, not for the benefit of the Trustees!

In 2009 Museum Consultant Larry Robbins OBE undertook a comprehensive feasibility study to see that the archive project was viable and sustainable. This was a requirement by Lotteries prior to applying to them for funding. As part of this review, Mr Robbins cold-called a cross-section of people in the extended region (Whangamata, Paeroa, Coromandel were included). You were one of these people and part of your response (which is contained in the report) follows.
“The Project is critically important to Thames and to the District. At the moment efforts (re archival information) are divided around the district and in many cases are not done well. This project will coordinate it and The TREASURY will become the focus of it. The Council is strongly supportive. Those councillors from the east are less supportive [in response to suggestion from the Author].”

If you, or anyone else, would like to know more about these matters please contact me directly.

Morrie Dunwoodie
Chairman
For The Coromandel Heritage Trust

September 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMorrie Dunwoodie

For the life of me Morrie, I cannot see what you are complaining about on this occasion.
The post as far I am concerned - and you seem to forget that this is commentary comprising opinions, remains 'factual' - I have confirmation on that score from a number of sources. It in no way sets out to denigrate or diminish the work that you are doing. I have not even sought to establish the level of 'research' that has been actually undertaken since the opening of the facility, and whether it has met your expectations - a valid question I would have thought.
What I am entitled to question, as have many others, is the possibility of Council, and through Council - ratepayers who may have no earthly interest in, or benefit from the Treasury being asked to further fund or subsidise your activities. I would have thought that this is a reasonable comment when the question arises following the disclosure of your approach to the CE seeking '"alternative sources of income."
This is small town Morrie, with small town sensibilities, but I will defend my right to comment, particularly in the absence of any other media interest in what goes on here. It is that simple!
Equally - you have the right to provide an alternative opinion.

September 12, 2014 | Registered CommenterBill Barclay

I would like to provide a correction to Mr. Dunwoodie's grossly erroneous claim (quote):

"The continued implication (which we have previously asked you to correct) that The Trust’s project has cost the Council a lot of money is extremely annoying. The work done on the building was to bring the building up to current earthquake standards so that it could still be used, and to do badly-needed maintenance after many years of neglect. The Council had to decide whether to demolish it or upgrade it. This decision was made well before the Trust knew the building would be available to use. We submitted an application to lease it, as did other parties. I am disappointed to see you raise again the following misleading and malicious statement - “Council has already contributed well in excess of $600,000 towards the re-building of the old Carnegie Library for the Heritage Trust”. The money was not spent for our use".

The following represents the truth.

Yes the Council did decide to upgrade the Carnegie building separate from the Treasury eventually leasing it from the Council. The upgrade was done purely as a result of the collective Council being 'historically minded' and wanting to preserve the Carnegie building. However, the options following the upgrade were:

a) To sell the restored building so that the Council could reimburse itself for the $600,000 plus capital it had spent:

b) Lease the building at a commercial rental so that the Councils capital expenditure would be covered through annual rent; or

c) Rent the restored building to the Treasury for a peppercorn rental of $300 odd dollars per annum as a further commitment to the philosophy of being historically minded and ignoring in the process economic repatriation.

The third option was chosen after the Treasury were in some financial difficulty and could not afford a home for their operations. The Council decision followed a pretty clear invitation by them for a Treasury application to be submitted. In other words, the Council of the time was prepared for-go $600,000 of capital through commercial sale or rental, in order to make the Treasury concept become viable.

The fact that the Dunwoodie's and their Treasury group have chosen to show absolutely no gratitude for this, is an appalling state of affairs.

And yes, it is difficult to go past the fact that explanation is directly related to the fact that Morrie Dunwoodie chose to become involved in politics as you have indicated Bill.

I guess the clincher, to prove everybody wrong, would be for Dunwoodie's crew to either: a) pay the Council back the $600,00 plus it is currently benefiting from; or b) start paying the Council a commercial rental based on the $600,00 cost of the building.

Will they do any of those things?

I don't think so.

September 12, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDal Minogue

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