Arm wrestle looming over surplus Halswell land sale

Quaifes Rd. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Quaifes Rd. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Residents may still have time to convince Christchurch City Council to retain a piece of land for a community space in Halswell instead of selling it.

The city council is yet to decide on whether it will sell land no longer required at 66 Quaifes Rd after it was purchased to develop a stormwater retention and detention basin.

A number of affordable housing providers, including Kāinga Ora, have already shown interest in buying the site to develop as a whole.

But the Halswell-Hornby-Riccarton Community Board wants at least a third of the surplus land to remain in city council ownership following calls to save it for the community, such as a hall.

Halswell Residents’ Association secretary David Hawke said the association was comfortable with that arrangement as the area could do with more recreational spaces.

“If it didn’t [go through], we’d be pretty disappointed,” he said.

“The key outcome we want is provision for community use.”

The city council planned to discuss the sale at its meeting last week, but it has been rescheduled to a later date.

It is now being discussed at the community board’s meeting next Tuesday before it proceeds to the city council for a decision.

The city council always intended to subdivide the land for its stormwater work and eventually sell the surplus.

The part shaded in yellow may be set aside for future community use if the city council approves...
The part shaded in yellow may be set aside for future community use if the city council approves the move. Map: Supplied
More land was acquired than needed as the original owner was not willing to sell the part that the city council wanted to develop, therefore it purchased the whole site.

The association saw this as an opportunity to save the land for residents to use before it went to the open market.

But the community board identified the need for more affordable housing in Halswell as the area’s population continues to grow, so several housing providers were also contacted to gauge interest.

In spite of what the association wanted, Hawke was not against a potential housing development at this site as he also understood its importance.

Kāinga Ora was not able to confirm its intentions with the land if it was successful.

Anne Galloway.
Anne Galloway.
“It’s not appropriate for us to comment at this stage, ahead of any council decision on the sale of this land,” a Kāinga Ora spokesperson said.

Halswell Ward city councillor Anne Galloway said affordable housing was needed, particularly due to an ageing population and that first-home buyers like young families “need a place to live”.

But there was a “real opportunity” for community involvement in planning what this space could look like.

“I’m keen to get a community panel of people to work with to design a space that is going to provide an environment we want our families to grow up in,” she said.







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