The West Coast Regional Council has spent over $370,000 on “specialised improvements” to a 1080 factory building it owns in Rolleston, on the edge of Christchurch.
The council kept secret its $1.9 million investment in the Pest Control Research (PCR) Ltd factory, manufacturing 1080 poison baits, until it was exposed by the Greymouth Star in 2015. The investment sparked widespread controversy on the West Coast.
At the end of 2020 the council quit its shareholding in PCR, but retained ownership of the factory site, which it still leases to PCR.
A new valuation report for the council showed it advanced $374,783 for specialised 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 council triennium councillor Peter Ewen questioned if the council had actually seen any evidence of the improvements at the site, after the council put up the money.
That prompted chief executive Heather Mabin to commission an assessment from Colliers.
Ewen said yesterday 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 over a decade ago before starting development in 2014.
News broke in 2015 that the 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 details an office and warehouse building with an outdoor loading and parking area, costing $2.13 million.
“Specialised improvements were completed to the building in 2019 at a cost of $374,783 which was funded by the landlord,” the executive summary said.
PCR pays rent of $110,610 a year, with a small increase recommended based on comparative current rentals in the area.
The regional council put $1.9m into the venture in 2013, paying $1.3m for the property and building, and $490,000 for a 49 percent shareholding.
The council kept the investment quiet for about a year, and when it was uncovered by the Greymouth Star it sparked a petition and angry protests by anti-1080 demonstrators.
Local Democracy Reporting is Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air