Land swap hope for building cheap housing

Invercargill City. Photo: ODT files
Invercargill City. Photo: ODT files
The Invercargill city council received a request from Habitat from Humanity to exchange part of the land which is destined to became a mixed model of residential housing.

The volunteer organisation last year purchased a site in Kew Bowl from the Invercargill City Council to address — in part — the issue of a housing shortage for city residents.

It is asking to swap the land located at 390 Elles Rd with part of Kew Park, McWarrie St, which is owned by the Crown through the Department of Conservation.

A report from the council’s Parks and Recreation planner, Cassie Horton, will be presented at tomorrow’s infrastructural services committee meeting.

According to the report, the exchange of land would beneficial for both parties because it would give access from McQuarrie St to the future development, while it would also resolve access issues for the Kew Bowling Club.

As well, it would allow council vesting for ownership of that part of the land.

"This process will allow Land Information and Doc to rectify steps that had been historically missed when the land had undergone a subdivision and exchange of land and steps were not completed."

If councillors approved it, the council would need to seek permission from Doc and Ngai Tahu as well as undertaking public consultation.

Habitat for Humanity Invercargill chief executive officer Paul Searancke yesterday said the bowling club’s members were at present using the entrance of their site as their main entrance.

"The land areas to be exchanged are of approximately equal size.

"It is a positive outcome both ways for the community."

He said the housing development was "progressing well," but the project was delayed due to Covid-19 outbreak.

Between 20 and 30 houses would be built at the site, in a mix of affordable, elderly, rental and ownership houses, he said.

"There is a transport survey which has been taken about traffic movement in the area. We have the concept plans done and some bits and pieces. All of that background stuff is being done.

"The things are progressing, not as fast as we would like, but we are in the middle of a global pandemic. So we need to be patient."

He believed if everything worked as planned and the project secured its funding, part of the development would be ready by the end of the summer, in March next year.

"There is a range of funding from Government which might be available so we are depending on that — which infrastructural funding is available — to see how we will be able do it; if it will be everything in one go, or if it will need to be a multi-staged [construction]."

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