Project boost for affordable housing

The proposed Shotover Country development has the potential to help create and retain affordable housing in the Wakatipu, the Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust says.

Plan Change 41 - a proposal for a $300 million-plus 750-house development between the Shotover River and the Lake Hayes Estate near Queenstown - last week cleared a major consent hurdle when commissioners recommended it be adopted by the Queenstown Lakes District Council.

Today it will go before the council strategy committee, which is being asked to consider the proposal with several amendments. One would be a provision restricting any residential activity within the development until the trust got 26 residential sites covering a total of at least 9100sq m.

Chairman David Cole said the trust had been working with the developers for 18 months towards such an end - signing a "heads of agreement" to ensure affordable housing would be included if it went ahead.

He said the recommendation was a positive sign, considering the possibilities Shotover Country presented to provide affordable housing for the district.

"At Lake Hayes Estate, there were cheap sections for the lucky first buyers, but to buy a house down there now is about half a million dollars," he said.

By working with the developers in the early stages, there are some very good positives for us ... as the development unfolds."

One of the most comprehensive submissions against the plan change during the hearing process in March came from the New Zealand Transport Agency. The agency is concerned about the impact increased vehicle movements from the development would have on the safety and efficiency of State Highway 6.