The confirmation of two major housing developments for the Timaru District has been lauded by sector leaders, who say the projects are a “great start’’ as the area reaches an ‘’unprecedented period’’ of construction.
On Wednesday, Kāinga Ora said it had purchased a 12,100m2 site in Timaru to build up to 40 public houses, while more than 130 sections have been confirmed in a new subdivision in the town.
The news was welcomed by Anglican Care social justice advocate Ruth Swale and Venture Timaru chief executive Nigel Davenport, who have both spoken out in recent months about a lack of housing stock in the region.
Swale said more public housing for Timaru was “a huge boost’’, and she had called for money to be put into social housing ahead of the Budget.
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“This is really exciting – it’s made my day,’’ Swale said on Wednesday.
“People on the waiting list will see light at the end of the tunnel.
“Considering the size of Timaru, 40 [houses] is really significant.’’
The occupants of social housing had a sense of stability, in that they didn’t need to keep moving around, Swale said.
“Some people move frequently, either the landlord asks them to leave or they put the rent up and they can’t afford it, either way it is unsettling.”
She said “at any given time’’ there was no public housing available for those on waiting lists, so “this will certainly make a difference’’.
Houses in the low bracket were often “very old housing stock, past demolition date, or in bad condition’’.
Being in a nice house, at an affordable price will “improve their sense of wellbeing’’, she said.
Meanwhile, Davenport said it was ‘’really great news for Timaru’’ and he looked forward to the projects getting underway.
Last month, Davenport’s quarterly update to the Timaru District Council, delivered a telling summation that outlined a “priority” need to get more housing developments under way to offset a housing stock shortage, and enhance the prospects of attracting the staff needed for the district to grow and prosper.
“We have been, and will continue to be, very vocal about the critical need for us to quickly establish a diversity of product in our housing stock, and we believe these two developments are a great start,’’ Davenport said.
“I am sure these announcements will encourage others to look at what can be achieved with a what’s needed and how can we make that happen approach.’’
Davenport said the variety of inner city living options, apartments, townhouses and affordable housing along with traditional house and land packages in the district, is hugely important as it provided different options desired by prospective buyers.
“Those either already living here or looking to come to the district.’’
He said Venture Timaru worked closely with South Canterbury businesses and the wider community to assist them in a variety of ways to ‘’attract, develop and retain the wide range of workforce our diverse industry sector base needs’’.
‘’We continually update our range of freely available workforce attraction resources highlighting what is so great about living, working and playing in this awesome district of ours, as well as undertaking ongoing promotion of what our district has to offer across our social media channels.’’
He also encouraged all residents in the district to be ambassadors for the area, by letting everyone they know, ‘’far and wide, not only how good we have it here but also the huge array of career and business opportunities on offer with the district entering an unprecedented period of construction across a number of major projects in our district and wider sub-region’’.
While there will be a challenge to ensure there will be enough workers to complete the projects, Davenport said he was confident the challenge would be met.
‘’By taking a collaborative and planned approach to managing the resources needed.’’
The ‘’once in a lifetime Scott Base rebuild’’ will in itself act as a natural attractor to a variety of skilled workers that can then be utilised across other known and future projects, he said.
“Imagine telling your children or grandchildren you helped build NZ’s new Scott Base – how cool would that be?’’
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