Housing package plan to boost Otago town

The coast is not far away. Sunny Central is just over the hills.

Lawrence is a peach ripe for the picking and plans have been hatched — based on a successful model down the road — to get some more housing into the West Otago town, situated on State Highway 8.

The Lawrence-Tuapeka Community Board will today look at a Lawrence-Tuapeka house and land package, which it is hoped will bring some housing into the town, boosting the area and the wider Clutha district.

The community board is likely to receive the report and the next step will be looking at meeting other stakeholders to get the process under way.

Community board chairman Geoff Davidson did not want to pre-empt any decision but said Lawrence was a place which had plenty going for it.

"There has been some properties built for rentals and they have all been snapped up.

"We have got builders here. One that has built six properties over the years and they have all been sold off," he said.

"It is a nice country town, not far from Central and we have got some people coming into the town.

"I think it is worth pursuing."

The town is also looking at developing a $4.8 million attraction centred on the Gabriel’s Gully gold find, near Lawrence.

Mr Davidson said it was an exciting development.

Lawrence-Tuapeka Community Board member Roger Cotton (left) and board chairman Geoff Davidson...
Lawrence-Tuapeka Community Board member Roger Cotton (left) and board chairman Geoff Davidson walk down the main street of Lawrence yesterday. Photo: Peter McIntosh
In Kaitangata, a campaign to attract people to the town was picked up by international media and in the end, eight houses were completed as part of the original "Kai Build" campaign.

It was built around providing affordable homes for young working families.

In February last year, the group secured 10 further sections in Kaitangata and the first of those homes, on one of the 10 sections, was formally handed over to its new owners.

Real estate agent Sarah Murray said the Lawrence-Tuapeka package was worth pursuing.

"It will bring some people into Lawrence and that is a great thing.

"It is not over-populated yet and got a nice vibe to it," she said.

"It could do with some more people who have skills and trades ...

"A lot of the land and farms are being sold into forestry at the moment. That is heartbreaking for the communities.

"Things like that will be hard for the community and will we have enough people to support the community in 10 to 20 years?"

She said there was land around to develop. Prices were still affordable and Covid-19 had not affected the town too badly.