An oversight means rules, a complaints procedure and fees were never set as part of the terms of the lease of the Clyde Holiday Park.
That revelation emerged at a virtual meeting of the Vincent Community Board last week.
Central Otago District Council parks and recreation manager Gordon Bailey told the board that in 2019 the council entered a 10-year commercial lease for the operation of Clyde Holiday Park.
The terms of the lease required rules, fees and a complaints procedure to be produced for the lessees and all three to be signed off by the council, he said.
“These have been overlooked by both parties since the start of that lease.”
They had now been provided for the board’s consideration, he said.
The Clyde Holiday Park and Sporting Complex, leased by Gary and Roslyn Ryan and operating as Clyde Holiday Park Ltd, came under scrutiny in early January after several complaints snowballed into multiple allegations levelled at the couple, some dating back almost as far as when the lease was granted.
At yesterday’s meeting, board member Sharleen Stirling-Lindsay questioned the part of the proposed complaints procedure that meant any complaints against the management went to the management.
“I wonder if there’s a way for if you had a complaint about the manager, it could go to someone in council.”
The intent of the proposed process was for management to inform the council, Mr Bailey said.
He had no reason to believe the lessees would not forward a complaint about themselves to the council but would raise that with them.
Board deputy chairman Russell Garbutt believed the complaints procedure, if it related to the manager, was not good enough.
“Effectively, the only action that the manager needs to take is to identify to the council, and it doesn’t specify who in the council, that he’s investigating himself.”
Mr Garbutt said council had a wider reputation to look after.
Complaints were still coming in and the number of them suggested “we have an issue here”, he said.
“There is no specified course of action that the council could take.”
Council executive manager planning and environment Louise van der Voort said Mr Garbutt had identified the issue and while she understood his point, the lease was an “arm’s length” agreement.
The issue had been discussed with the council’s lawyer and the lease agreement was never going to be a great enforcement document “with teeth”, she said.
Board chairman Martin McPherson suggested any complaints relating to the conduct or behaviour of the management be copied to the council at the same time as they were forwarded to the management.
Ms van der Voort said there had to be an element of trust.
Council chief executive Sachia Jacobs agreed and said the council would likely learn very quickly if a complaint was made and not addressed.
The board approved the Clyde Holiday Park rules, complaints procedure and fees for 2022 with the addition of a clause saying any complaints regarding the management must be forwarded to the council upon receipt and it was to receive guest night data.