House fails to find buyer at auction

The first-of-its-kind climate-safe house the Dunedin community built failed to sell at auction yesterday.

Meanwhile, the Blueskin Bay community has become divided over the plan to sell what was supposed to be a blessing for climate-change affected communities.

Blueskin Energy Ltd general manager Scott Willis said the $100,000 high bid at yesterday’s auction for the company’s wooden, relocatable 60sqm eco-friendly home was not enough for a sale to go ahead.

The company had directed the real estate agent to negotiate with any interested parties.

Mr Willis said he would approach social housing providers again to see if they were willing to take on the property.

The portable home, raised 1.1m above the ground, was lifted into position on a flood-affected Waitati property in November last year.

The Climate Safe House in Waitati. Photo: Peter McIntosh
The Climate Safe House in Waitati. Photo: Peter McIntosh

At the time it was heralded as a blueprint that could be used for social housing on private land in communities affected by climate change.

Mr Willis said then the the ownership model allowed the trust to lease the land to build the house, then sub-let the home to the landowner at a peppercorn rental.

But the company was now required to move the house after its original occupant changed their mind and ended their lease agreement with the company, he said yesterday.

The house was built after a public fundraising campaign and with public and business support, and after some became aware it was to be sold, the process came under scrutiny.

The Otago Daily Times has been contacted by members of the Blueskin community concerned about the process.

Blueskin Resilient Communities Trust is the sole shareholder of the company, and its chairman Craig Marshall said yesterday the trust was working to make sure the money raised in the sale would be put into equivalent projects in the community.

There was division in the community about the process under way, Mr Marshall said, and the trust could have done better to communicate about the matter.

He acknowledged the trust had received a letter from Waikouaiti Coast Community Board chairman Alasdair Morrison offering support to help keep the house in the Blueskin area.

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