A theatre group is "fed up" after a last-minute change in direction by Gisborne councillors left them with an uncertain future.
For almost four years, Musical Theatre Gisborne has tried to get a clear answer from the council about its longstanding lease on Innes Street - an arrangement which quietly expired in 2019.
The group owns its own building at the site and currently pays the council the nominal amount of around $400 a year.
In recent times, the group has been faced with a quandary of whether to fork out $60,000 for roof repairs while running the risk of being pushed off the land, with no option of moving the building.
Councillors voted on Thursday to provide a five-year lease option, despite council staff recommending a 10-year renewal, which would have secured the group's mid-term future.
Musical Theatre Gisborne club president Peter Grealish said he was disappointed.
"We're fed up with it, we don't know what to do. We've got nowhere to go ... I wish they would totally make their mind up with what they want to do with the land," he said.
"It's just so frustrating. We can't do anything to our building that's in need of repair."
Grealish said the council had continually changed its stance on the land over the past four years, even telling the group in May it might sell it to them.
He acknowledged it was a valuable and under-utilised space, but had a clear message for council: "stop messing around with us".
"They totally haven't been playing ball properly in all of this. They haven't been straight up with us for the last four years."
At Thursday's meeting, only the mayor and two councillors - Rhonda Tibble and Debbie Gregory - voted for the 10-year option.
A visibly frustrated Mayor Rehette Stoltz was critical of the decision.
"It's like we're offering something we know they don't want. Why are we going down that avenue?" she asked.
Stoltz said the council was looking to utilise the land for commercial purposes in the future, but noted that would not realistically happen in the next 10 years.
She said community groups ran "on the smell of an oily rag".
Councillor Andy Cranston said he was concerned over possible community expectation for getting a return on the land, while councillor Teddy Thompson said 10 years was "too long".
The theatre group was not the only party affected by the council's decision, with Surf City Rod and Custom Club, Gisborne Harriers and business Roberts Tree Surgeons leasing at the site.
A lease of five years was granted to Tairāwhiti Menzshed for an adjacent lot, as per the council recommendation.
Council's involvement with the Innes Street property dates back to 1972 when it purchased eight acres in the area for industrial development.
Most of that land was subdivided and sold, but a portion was set aside for community and civic purposes.
When the most recent lot of leases expired in 2019, all parties re-applied for continuation.
Thursday's decision followed a directive from councillors earlier in the year for staff to investigate selling or leasing the land for industrial commercial use.
Musical Theatre Gisborne was created through the merging of Gisborne Musical Theatre (formerly Gisborne Operatic Society) and Gisborne Theatre Arts in 2008.
The latter began its lease at the Awapuni site in 1984.
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