Pact to shut two Hokitika houses

By Janna Sherman

Pact West Coast has confirmed is it closing the doors on two of its three supported accommodation homes in Hokitika.
Houses in Bealey and Sewell streets will shut along with another in Palmerston Street, Greymouth next month, resulting in about 10 job losses throughout the West Coast.
Pact director of operations Donald Shand said the decision was confirmed yesterday to staff, who have been given the week to decide if they want to take voluntary redundancy, or apply for one of the 11 positions that will remain after the service reconfiguration.
Mr Shand said the closures would result in some redundancies.
However, other options would be explored with staff so redundancy was a last resort.
He said Pact would finalise the changes this week and staff had been invited to re-apply for preferred positions in the new structure. It was anticipated the new roles and structure would take effect on November 25.
The proposed changes were announced only two weeks ago and Pact has been working through a number of submissions from staff and union representatives.
Service and Food Workers’ Union organiser Coral Hodgson said feedback from West Coast staff had been taken into account, and some adjustments had been made to the rosters, but it had not been enough to sway away from the closures.
“It is very sad, but at the end of the day the reality is that businesses can’t continue to run at a loss year after year.”
Mr Shand said Pact had continued to lose money on the West Coast, gaining only two new clients in the past two years.
However, it was working with the West Coast District Heath Board on a new funding model which meant it would launch a new activity service.
Bealey Street Pact house resident Graham Gould, is one of five males living there who will be affected by the change.
He was told two weeks ago that he would be moving to a flat in Cobden before Christmas.
He has lived in Hokitika for the past 10 years and said he would miss the town.
Pact’s Fitzherbert Street house will continue as a residential facility, while the Bealey Street address will re-open as a social networking centre for Pact clients.