Station outcome angers ex-tenants


Former tenants at the Oamaru Railway Station are disappointed the sale of their former work space appears to have floundered.

Donna Demente, Kit Macgregor and Ra McRostie aren’t happy that they had to vacate their space at the railway station now that it looks like the deal could fall through.

“We feel as though we as the arts society, the slightly different or weird ones, were seen as strangers and we were disrespected,” Ms Demente said.

“I’m p….d off and ashamed that they went along and sold it, because it was full of tenants and they would’ve been making something from it out of rent.”

The Oamaru Whitestone Civic Trust owned the building and sold it to an unidentified buyer with the official handover expected last month. In Wednesday’s Oamaru Mail, trust chairman Peter Garvan said the trust was taking legal action against the new owner whose identity has not been revealed.

“The deposit was paid as per the contract,” Mr Garvan said in a statement concerning the sale. “The settlement has not taken place as per the contract and the board are taking legal action.”

Ms Demente, who was based at the railway station for about eight years, said it was a fantastic place to be located.

“It was a great place to be located because it was seen as the arts hub with the majority of us based there and other people like Ra and Luke, it’s a shame they just decided to sell it, because it was making a little bit of money through rent, but now it’s making nothing.”

Tenants were given six weeks notice that the new owner wanted the building vacated, however Ms Demente was two weeks late receiving her notice.

“I received my notice late, It’s appalling they forgot to give it to me. I’d actually love to see the deal fall through, but I’d never move back there if it did.”

Ms Demente said it’s a blessing in a way being asked to leave since she is pleased with her new location.

Ra McRostie, who took African drum and dance classes in the building, said she would not return either, if given the opportunity.

“I certainly won’t be moving back if the sale doesn’t go through, I was appalled that they asked us to leave and now the deal might not take place.”

Mrs McRostie vacated her room on September 1.

“I just didn’t want to be associated with that anymore, we were asked to leave so I left as soon as I could, and managed to find something temporary for now,” she said.

Artist Kit Macgregor said if the sale of the railway station doesn’t go through he would be annoyed

“I met the new owner. I think he rushed into buying it and has now decided that it may not have been the right decision,” he said.

“He was friendly enough, I just don’t think he’d thought it through properly.”

Jenny Lynch-Blosse who was chairwoman of the trust’s railway restoration committee, said it’s sad to see it empty.

“They obviously rushed into offering it to the person who has bought it and I think he’s decided he doesn’t have as much of a heritage background as they thought.”

Mr Garvan said he coud see why they are disgruntled.

“They were long serving tenants of the building and on a personal note I can see why they are disappointed, but at the end of the day the trust did what it felt was right and sold the building.”

Mr Garvan said they had every right to do so.

‘We put it on the market as we were entitled to do so and we completed our part of the contract and that involved giving them the minimum amount of notice required.”

He said the new tenant asked for it to be vacant when he took over.

“He had agreed with one tenant who was allowed to remain there, but the rest of it had to be vacant when he took over.”



NOT HAPPY: Donna Demente and Ra McRostie look through the window into Ms Demete’s former studio at the railway station.

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