Growth puts Teviot Valley on map

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Boomtown Rox . Roxburgh and Districts Business Group convener Sally Smith is surrounded by some of Roxburgh’s busy businesses. Community leaders say the Teviot Valley is becoming an increasingly popular place to live, do business and visit. PHOTO: YVONNE O’HARA

In the second of our series on growth in small rural areas in the region, Yvonne O’Hara looks at the Teviot Valley, which is also seeing new businesses, more subdivisions and more tourists.

Roxburgh has become a destination town, Roxburgh and Districts Business Group convener Sally Smith says.

Mrs Smith said the Teviot Valley had once been overlooked as a place to do business and to live, but in the past few years it had become busier, with new businesses opening and others expanding.

“The town is so positive,” Mrs Smith said.

“Roxburgh is becoming a destination town and retail confidence is up.

“We don’t have the lows that we used to have.”

In the past couple of years several new dining and cafe businesses have opened or expanded, and another is soon to open near Dumbarton.

Mrs Smith said one of the reasons for the area’s buoyancy was more cyclists using the Roxburgh Gorge and the Clutha Gold cycle trails.

However, a lack of accommodation for people coming off the trails has been identified as an issue.

In addition, many people who moved to the area were able to operate businesses from their homes, without commuting.

“People from Queenstown and Arrowtown [are selling], taking their money and coming down this way where they can buy or build something really good and still have a bit of money for retirement,” she said.

Highland Pharmacy owner Alistair Forbes said the past two years had been “very good years” for his business, with e-bike and ordinary bike rentals doubling.

He said customers stopping as they passed through on their way to the skifields, Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme workers, backpackers and independent travellers spending time in the area added to the foot traffic in Roxburgh.

Katrina van der Water opened her specialist Teviot Tea Store in Roxburgh about a month ago.

She said she had always wanted to open a little tea store and, as she lived in the town, Roxburgh was a perfect location.

“Roxburgh and the valley is a brilliant place to live. There is a great climate, wonderful welcoming community, good house and land prices, great industry, positive community board and good infrastructure – the land of opportunity, really.”

The Benger Garden Cafe’s Ettrick co-owner Lee Massariolo said they planned to add self-contained accommodation for short-stay travellers.

They had consents for up to five self-contained luxury chalets for singles or couples next to the cafe.

Orchard and packhouse owner Con van der Voort installed some of the latest pipfruit sorting and packing technology in his Ettrick packhouse earlier this year, to cater for a 50% increase in fruit volumes from the company’s orchards.

L J Hooker real estate agent Cushla Browning said the Teviot Valley market was “really hot” and she was seeing multiple offers on one property, and more buyers offering cash sales with no conditions.

“It has gone crazy. A lot of people are moving to Roxburgh from out of town.

“A lot of people are seeing Wanaka and Queenstown as too expensive and they want the quintessential Central Otago of yesteryear.”

Harcourts Alexandra real estate agent Brigitte Paterson said subdivisions like Quail Haven were attracting a lot of interest.

“For the past three months, the median days on the market [in the Teviot Valley] has been 23, which is quite a quick turnover.

“The median sale price is $330,000.”