|Mona Vale belongs to the people of Christchurch
Keep Our Assets Canterbury (KOA) welcomes Friday's announcement that the Christchurch City Council has forced its lessee, Continental Catering, to reopen the Mona Vale homestead and cafe to the public, having closed both to all but private function guests since October.
This was an effective privatisation of a Christchurch City Council public asset.
KOA is as concerned about our heritage public assets as we are about assets such as Council rental housing, City Care, Enable, Orion, the port and airport companies.
I'm old enough to remember the monumental public fundraising drive half a century ago to buy Mona Vale for the people of Christchurch.
It is a beautiful place that I, along with countless others, have regularly visited and enjoyed in the decades since.
And it was Christchurch ratepayers who paid millions for the post-quakes repair and truly wonderful restoration of the homestead.
That was not done for the exclusive money-making benefit of one private company.
But the reopening comes with restricted hours and access and with a very begrudging attitude from the lessee.
The Council needs to re-tender the lease for Mona Vale and specify that the new lessee is obliged to keep the Homestead open for the public.
After all, it belongs to the people of Christchurch, who have paid for it several times over.