The West Coast Regional Council has spent more than $370,000 on “specialised improvements” to a 1080 factory building it owns in Rolleston, on the outskirts of Christchurch.
The council kept secret its $1.9 million investment in the Pest Control Research (PCR) Ltd factory, which produces 1080 poison baits, until it was approved by the Greymouth Star in 2015. The investment sparked widespread controversy on the West Coast.
In late 2020, the council exited its shareholding in PCR but retained ownership of the factory site, which it continues to lease to PCR.
A new valuation report for the council showed it advanced $374,783 for specialized improvements requested by PCR at the start of the current five-year lease in 2019. The lease ends in January 2025.
Towards the end of the last triennium of the council, councilor Peter Ewen questioned whether the council had actually seen any evidence of the improvements on the site, after the council put up the money.
This prompted chief executive Heather Mabin to commission an appraisal of Colliers.
Ewen said yesterday that he was reading the resulting report with interest.
PCR is located in the Izone Southern Business Hub, which also houses Westland Milk Products.
The council bought the bare section more than a decade ago before development began in 2014.
News emerged in 2015 that Selwyn District Council had granted resource consent for the site to be used to manufacture 1080 baits, sparking concern in Rolleston and controversy over the regional council’s involvement.
The new valuation report describes an office and warehouse building with an outdoor loading and parking area, costing $2.13 million.
“Specialized improvements were completed to the building in 2019 at a cost of $374,783 funded by the landlord,” the executive summary states.
PCR pays rent of $110,610 per year, with a small increase recommended based on comparative current rents in the area.
The regional council put $1.9 million into the business in 2013, paying $1.3 million for the property and building, and $490,000 for a 49 percent shareholding.
The council kept the investment quiet for about a year, and then it was approved by the Greymouth Star this resulted in a petition and angry protests by anti-1080 protesters.
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