Forbury site 'could fit hundreds of homes'

The future for Forbury Park is uncertain. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
A racing venue in South Dunedin that will soon be abandoned could fit more than 300 new homes, helping to ease the city’s growing housing crisis, a developer says.

It comes as the Forbury Park Trotting Club and its key stakeholders met yesterday to discuss "exciting" possibilities for the site, currently zoned for recreation and with a rateable value of $7.9 million.

The club announced its plans to sell the site and explore being part of a development of an all-weather, multi-code equestrian centre at a greenfields site in the Dunedin area, or set up at Wingatui.

Developer Tom Richardson, who recently moved from Dunedin to Canterbury, believed about 360 houses on 500sqm sections could fit on the 12ha site.

"God knows the city needs it. They need to get on to it," he said.

The more the issue of housing supply grew, the more housing prices would grow, he said.

"One just follows the other.

"All that has happened is sections that I originally started selling for $150,000 are $400,000 now."

There were some issues with building in South Dunedin, due to concerns over the effects of climate change, but there were ways to do it right, he said.

"It could be used for housing, there is no question about that.

"They have just got to get their thinking up to date."

Mr Richardson believed there would be many developers around Dunedin who would want to buy the site or parts of it.

 Ingrid Leary
Ingrid Leary

Forbury Park Trotting Club chairman Craig Paddon confirmed a meeting was held yesterday to explore the options for the site, but was unable to comment further due to confidentiality.

"It is all unfolding quite quickly."

Taieri MP Ingrid Leary was also unable to comment on what options were being discussed.

However, it was important to her that access to additional housing, innovative business models that supported home ownership, and climate-adaptive infrastructure were considered.

"All stakeholders I’ve spoken to know it is critically important that South Dunedin people and mana whenua are front and centre of these exciting and creative possibilities," she said.

South Dunedin Business Association president Craig Waterhouse, like Mr Richardson, wanted to see the vacated racecourse site used for housing.

He hoped developers would be encouraged by local authorities not to construct the "cheapest builds on the smallest possible sites for the maximum profit".

The Toiora High Street co-housing complex, in High St, which is nearing completion, was a good example of what should be done, he said.

"A co-housing village with warm, dry, low-maintenance, low running cost, affordable housing with plenty of green space would be great to see built in this area.

"It is an ideal opportunity for a developer ... with the courage to show what a high standard can be achieved in new housing for South Dunedin."

A Dunedin City Council spokesman confirmed its staff were at yesterday’s meeting, but did not comment further.



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"A racing venue in South Dunedin that will soon be abandoned could fit more than 300 new homes, helping to ease the city’s growing housing crisis, a developer says" of course the site could, I can imagine all the developers positively fizzing at the prospect of how much money they could make too. "He hoped developers would be encouraged by local authorities not to construct the "cheapest builds on the smallest possible sites for the maximum profit" that's exactly what will happen if this isn't regulated.

At least we won't go to the dogs.

Isn’t this flood-prone land?

So I guess talk of managed retreat of South D is off the cards, now there is going to be some tickets to clip....

bang on, let the back-peddling commence while at the same time continuing to push ahead with increased rates to spend on the 'climate emergency'

Keep up.

I'm surprised any large scale residential development would be allowed to proceed at this site, in regards to flooding risk, coastal erosion and the looming insurance crisis for housing in low-lying areas.

Yes it's going to interesting to see how this story develops.

Watch this space.

Let's not forget the 100 year plan for our beaches the DCC are working on ... I'm pretty sure that'll take care of any future flooding due to rises in sea levels.

The thing is, if they allow this to be built on, I guess they're going to have to take any reference to flooding problems they've already put on LIM reports of existing properties.

Insurance ? ... well my guess would be that it's going to be a bit higher than usual, possibly too high for many people to afford.

Maybe the developers should be thinking about making it into a mini Venice ... canals, punting in gondola or sharing a traghetti to go grocery shopping ...

The possibilities are endless, but we all know it's all about the almighty dollar ...

Now I remember that were were told that the floods some years ago were not due to systematic neglect of the drains in that area (even though it appeared that maintenance was paid for).

It was instead due to RISING GROUND WATER that was incurable and thus South Dunedin was DOOOOOMED!!!.

Many of us at the time preferred the systemically neglected drain theory for the floods, to the somewhat hysterically presented DCCl approved alternative.

So I guess that the DCC can approve these houses - just so long as they either:

Publicly acknowledge that the DCC's previous rising ground water chorus was PR drivel.


Tell the developers and future owners that they are on their own if water comes up the drains rather than down them at some future point in time.

After all, we don't want to be rebuilding 500+ homes at ratepayer expense due to a successful legal case that permission to build in that area should never have been given, do we?

Obviously from a developer's point of view, the prospect of building 500+ homes, flattening them and rebuilding them again on a site somewhere else at ratepayer cost plus might be very attractive proposition.

wow i'm suddenly filled with hope that there are other people out there that can think for themselves rather than just drinking the Kool-ade. Keep up the great work.

And as said, will these proposed houses get insured in 15 years time? Sure the developers have been and gone by then and leaving only ratepayers to do a buyout if the dire warnings come to reality.

Now we shall see if our "Green" council truly believes in sea level rise and their "climate" emergency, or are as full of hypocrisy as other world climate leaders and their mansions by the sea...

Need to consider sea level rises and the severe weather events. Get real.

There's an abundance of flat land out Mosgiel way, and just 5 minutes over the hill...

There is no way in heck that this local council, or central government for that matter, can let this land be turned into housing without being outed as the hypocritical bunch they really are. They have been plugging on about climate change and how these types of land will definitely be under water in no time and have scared up enough hysteria that now people that own land in these areas are facing insurance nightmares so to now see some dollar signs and give it the go ahead would surely be political suicide.

Any attempt of remediation of the land to prove sustainable would require hundreds of millions of dollars. A parallel would be the Pegasus community north of Christchurch which was a former sink hole for the Waimakariri. I expect part of it will be designated the same as the Kaikorai Common with water retaining qualities.
Big job... Will largely depend on what the experts think and if there's enough money in it once all the remediation is complete.

Interesting development idea. However I actually think this space could be used as a public raceway for the boy and girl car racers. This would keep them out of the public eye of the octogon and princess st strip they often seem race down and challenge each other to go as fast as they can. If this was a public raceway it might hinder or scare away the tsunamis that keep on trying to claim the land below and would be entertaining and a place parents could watch there kids drive. Eventually we could even host international rally cars and make an income from the space via spectators and drift driver's alike. There is a park on Victoria Drive across the road that could be developed into housing (Villa style ideally) for those that travel such as the Romany People that host the gypsy fair or alternatively housing for car and motorbike ethusiasts. Many of them are without homes and have been south Dunedin locals.

All you need to do is to ensure all buildings are timber floored and moveable off site
like Christchurch City does for some areas in eastern suburbs.

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