The Timaru District Council

PHOTO: The Timaru District Council. FILE

The Timaru District Council acknowledges that it could have pursued a more transparent selection process in selecting a real estate agent to market its properties in Washdyke, including the former Devils Henchmen headquarters and associated properties on Meadows Rd. The council initially attracted attention for acquiring these properties in May 2023, spending over $2 million on the purchase.

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After listing the properties for sale in two separate tenders and attempting a private tender through Timaru law firm Gresson Dorman & Co, the properties failed to sell. As a result, the council staff recommended the appointment of a real estate agent to facilitate the sale. The report, authored by TDC procurement lead Nigel Howarth and authorized by acting group manager commercial and strategy, Paul Cooper, highlighted the need for a more open approach to the selection process.

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The report mentioned that registrations of interest were sought from local real estate agents, excluding Harcourts due to a potential conflict of interest. Ray White Real Estate was the only agent to respond, leading to concerns from other agencies like Bayleys, Mike Pero, Property Brokers, and PGG Wrightson, who claimed they were not contacted. Some expressed dissatisfaction with the wording of the council report, suggesting it portrayed them as lazy or disinterested.

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Great profile industrial freehold sections (76 = 812 sqm, 78 = 819 sqm, 80 = 814 sqm) SOURCE: TRADEME.

Bayleys agent Wayne Frewen, who learned of the council’s plans through a news article, had previously contacted the council when the properties were first advertised for sale. Frewen emphasized the importance of involving experienced agencies to maximize the sale price and questioned the exclusion of certain agents from the process.

Other agents, including PGG Wrightson and Property Brokers, expressed disappointment at not being approached by the council, with concerns about the wording of the report implying laziness. Mike Pero Timaru’s Lee Johns suggested a review of the council’s policy.

The council confirmed that it approached only three agents in Timaru to seek registrations of interest, acknowledging that a more open selection process could have been followed. The council spokesperson explained that the recommended motion focused on the marketing aspect, and any sale would undergo a separate process. The committee adopted the recommendation to endorse Ray White Real Estate for facilitating the sale and to negotiate real estate commission fees through the council’s chief executive.