Wanaka Sun       

Hawea SHA to proceed to government

Posted at 5:49am Thursday 20 Dec, 2018 | By Emma Conyngham newsdesk@thewanakasun.co.nz

For some it was a celebration, for others a commiseration. Deeply felt emotions on both sides made it a heated debate but in the end, the Hawea Special Housing Area won out.

Queenstown Lakes District Mayor Jim Boult advised he and the councillors had come to the meeting with an open mind about the proposal.

“We recognise the concerns of the Hawea community and I would like to thank everyone who came to the meeting yesterday. This is a topic that has generated a lot of debate and it wasn't an easy decision but we do have a housing affordability issue across our district,” said Mayor Boult.
“The questioning from councillors showed they were genuinely testing this proposal and approaching this matter from a district-wide and local community perspective, as well as assuring themselves of the legal robustness and ability to deliver on affordable housing in the Upper Clutha area.”

There were eight councillors in attendance and seven voted for the SHA, and one (Cr Quentin Smith) voted against. Three representatives presented a vociferous opposition, and three representatives presented in favour. On both sides, it was an impassioned plea.

“I commend all parties we engaged with for their honesty and the ‘without prejudice discussions' we had. I respect the Hawea Community Association's position to maintain opposition, however their input was nonetheless very insightful and appreciated,” said Councillor Scott Stevens.

The next step now is for QLDC to send their proposal to the Associate Minister for Housing and Urban Development, Hon Jenny Salesa.

Developer Lane Hocking doesn't believe this is merely a rubber stamp but another hurdle to be overcome.

“I don't know but I'm not taking anything for granted so we still have to present to government and then apply for resource consent,” he said. “I don't want to count my chickens before they hatch.”

April McKenzie of the Hawea Community Association, said: “We are extremely disappointed at the decision. We felt that we had provided sufficient evidence to demonstrate that their proposal wasn't consistent with their own legislation. They don't appear to have had a critical discussion - why are they ignoring their own expert witnesses, and [doing] an about-face on their May decision on urban growth?”

McKenzie elaborated that opposition isn't “just a bunch of rich snobs” not wanting affordable housing on their doorstep.

“Hawea community is pro development, pro affordable housing and welcomes development and inside its urban growth boundary,” she said.

“It's been painted that we are anti-affordable housing. We're not. We've got these large sections upto 1100sqm with little baches within the Urban Growth Boundary; why not subdivide and intensify the housing in the boundary?”

She continued, “Hawea has always been the affordable option for Wanaka. We aren't opposed to affordable housing. It's about using SHA legislation to override other planning laws. If they wanted SHA inside the Urban Growth Boundary we would be happy, or measures to stop speculators and land flippers. We would be fine with that.”

“Affordability is important for all of us but QLDC has a bad track record in ensuring affordability in this region.”

Both sides of the debate will present to Associate Minister Salesa before the final decision is made. If the government gives a green light, Universal Developments hopes to break ground very early in 2019.

 

More: Hawea holds its breath while council deliberates

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