By ROBYN BRISTOW
Waiau’s Scouting group has been dealt a double blow.
Its den in Balmoral Street was red-stickered after the November 2016 earthquake.
However, the group, known as Waiau Scouting, is now battling to get any of the upcoming $124,200 insurance payout.
Scouting New Zealand stepped in at the last minute to secure the funds, saying the building belongs to the national body because it owns the land. It has put the land and buildings up for sale, as is where is, and offered the local group $10,000 from the proceeds, of which every dollar will have to be accounted for in a business plan.
This in spite of Waiau Scouting paying for the insurance, ever since it went into recess in 2013 due to a lack of members.
Those who have been working hard to ensure the community gained something from the situation are “gutted” to have hit a brick wall, Waiau Scouting’s treasurer, Miranda Higgins, says.
Miranda says she, Phil and Viv Grey, and Donalda Galletly had done all the work claiming the insurance, but now feel they can do no more because of personal commitments, including dealing with their own quake recovery.
The group had applied for all the funds that will be generated from the property sale and had hoped to at least secure half the proceeds to benefit local youth.
But it now holds little hope of getting anywhere near this figure, with Scouting New Zealand offering just $10,000.
“We have been battling to retain some of these funds for the youth of our community, but it is Scouting NZ policy that all property proceeds are retained by the national association (as legal owner),” the group says in the latest eCitizen, the town’s local paper.
“We have consulted with a solicitor who advises, legally, we don’t have too many rights here. It is disheartening that the hard work put in by the community to have the land gifted, build the den and keep it going for all these years, can so easily be lost to the ‘legal’ owner on paper.”
Scouting NZ told the group it was willing to consider a modest investment of about $10,000 in the community, based on a process of a business case detailing how the money would be used to benefit the youth in the community.
“We are now putting together our business case to try to receive this reduced payout as we wish to retain some funds for our community.
“We have worked hard over the past 18 months to come to the best agreement and are disappointed with this outcome, but do not wish to sacrifice it all with a legal stoush we cannot afford,” the group says.
Miranda says there will be no problem finding another space for scouts to meet in the future if a new group is formed. But the group that worked hard for a payout feel the community is being short-changed.
“There is no morality. Nothing in it for the community who had worked to build the den from community fundraising,” she says.
The land was originally gifted by D.C. Macfarlane and J.L. Macfarlane to “The Boy Scout County of Canterbury Trust Board” in 1956. It was subsequently transferred to “The Boy Scouts Association of NZ” in 1964.
The den was built in the late 1950s or early 1960.