By Mary Anne Gill
Mystery surrounds the future of two former Bunnings stores in Te Awamutu and Cambridge with Waipā District Council tipped to become the owner of one of them.
The council refused to confirm the purchase saying it was “commercially sensitive”.
“We are in the middle of a commercial transaction that has not been finalised yet and we will not be able to provide more information until it goes unconditional,” a spokesperson said.
If the deal goes ahead, it would go unconditional on May 10.
The news would have remained under wraps until then if not for Pirongia Ward councillor Clare St Pierre who queried the minutes of the March meeting at the council’s April 27 meeting.
At the March meeting, the council considered a major late item, a report titled Te Ara Wai. The minutes said the council needed to go into committee so the council could “enable a decision to be made in order to comply with the timeframes agreed in the sale and purchase agreement with Bunnings Ltd”.
Te Ara Wai is the name for the stalled $12.4 million Waipā Discovery Centre in Te Awamutu.
Cr St Pierre asked whether it was appropriate to name the property owner in the resolution when the matter was dealt with in public excluded.
Council staff said it was not possible to change the resolution.
Mayor Jim Mylchreest was not at the March 30 meeting where the late item was discussed but was back on deck for the April meeting last week.
“As you say, we can’t change it (the resolution), but it’s something to be mindful of,” he said.
The council put the Te Ara Wai museum project on hold in August last year to consider alternative options for the project.
It is just over a year since it was revealed Bunnings was closing its two Waipā outlets, and at the time it sparked a wave of speculation over – and a wish list of – potential buyers.