Discontent housing remains

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Some Hawea people are still disappointed with the Queenstown Lakes District Council’s decision to approve a 400-section special housing area (SHA) proposed by Universal Developments Ltd.

Hawea Community Association vice-chairwoman and local resident Jennifer Rumore has written a complaint to the Ombudsman, and said other locals have also complained.

Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult acknowledged that some residents were unhappy with the council’s decision, but young families and first-time buyers would welcome the opportunity to buy their own affordable home.

“The benefit of a development such as this, should it be finally approved by the Minister, is that it offers the opportunity for our friends, families, co-workers and those in the service industries we rely on, to live in a home that they own and can take pride in,” he said.

Ms Rumore said an investigation by Stew Burt, of Hawea, into public submissions to the council during the consultation process found that over 90% of the submissions in favour of the SHA were from people who did not live in Hawea.

More than half of the submissions in favour of the SHA also had a vested interest, she said.

But Mr Boult said the consultation process was undertaken with integrity and with the intent to provide the community with the opportunity to have their say.

“All of the community feedback was provided to elected members, which they considered alongside all other pertinent information in arriving at their decisions.

“Robust discussion was undertaken in the public council meeting, along with the final councillor votes in support or opposition of the recommendation to approve the first step in the process.”

The Hawea Community Association (HCA) was not anti-development, but questioned why previous discussions to contain development within a southern boundary of Cemetery Rd were ignored, Ms Rumore said.

“Why are you all of a sudden completely flipping on the policy that you have affirmed repeatedly and as recently as two months ago?

“We are setting up meetings to speak with our local councillors to understand why the QLDC would simply fly in the face of its own proposed development plan and extend beyond the township when there is still more room within the township to develop,” Ms Rumore said.

The proposed site was outside the recently created Hawea urban growth boundary (UGB), but part of the purpose of a UGB was to ensure any development beyond that was well-planned and logical, Mr Boult said.

“The officer’s report presented that it was [a] well-planned and logical extension of Hawea and council’s decision agreed with that.”