Details about massive Queenstown housing area revealed

Phil Twyford
Phil Twyford
A massive, 600-house special housing area (SHA) has been earmarked for Queenstown, just a day after the Government announced it will scrap the legislation that could see it become a reality.

Businessman Don MacLachlan has revealed plans to develop 48ha of vacant land near Jacks Point and Hanley's Farm, in the Coneburn Valley - as reported in the Otago Daily Times last week.

Expected to be mostly a mix of two- and three-bedroom, prefabricated houses, the development would also have up to 60 houses set aside for the Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust.

According to the expression of interest, the project would ''represent a significant influx of affordable housing supply for the Wakatipu''.

Mr MacLachlan had made inquiries about partnering with the KiwiBuild programme, but the development was not reliant on that being the case.

A KiwiBuild spokesman said he could not comment on any proposals until contracts had been finalised and announced, due to commercial confidentiality.

Measures to ensure houses are not snapped up by property speculators could also be implemented.

''While an ongoing programme of supply may go some way to dampening speculation, other possibilities are being considered.

''One possibility is that a large portion of houses (if not all) could be retained as rental stock by a single entity,'' the expression of interest states.

''Such an entity could be governed in a manner which seeks to maintain affordable rental levels.''

The prefabrication model allowed for ''a number of efficiencies including the ability to rely on labour outside of the local construction industry, which is already operating near or at capacity'', the expression of interest states.

If approved, development could start by the end of the year, and the project could be completed within five to seven years.

Coneburn is one of five SHA proposals that will be considered by Queenstown Lakes district councillors next month.

Four new proposals, equating to about 2400 houses in the Queenstown area, will be on the table, as well as the controversial Laurel Hills SHA, which was deferred by councillors last week.

The announcement follows the release of growth projections by the council this week, which show the district will need another 17,000 houses if it is to accommodate the projected growth in its population over the next 30 years.

It also came a day after Housing and Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford said the Government would not be extending the special housing area legislation.

Mr Twyford said SHAs had ''failed to make housing more affordable''.

Making the point SHA legislation came from the previous government, Mr Twyford said the legislation would not be extended beyond the expiry date of September 16.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council has approved nine SHAs with about 1700 sections.

Mr Twyford said the Government was setting up a housing and urban development authority to help fast-track urban development projects.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council yesterday said it was seeking public feedback on the Coneburn proposal, which will be considered at the next full council meeting on April 18.

Feedback can be made on the council website before 5pm on Thursday, April 11.

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