Volcano housing would be for low-income earners, owners say

By Simon Collins

Crater Hill with red zones showing where houses can be built. Photo / Supplied
Crater Hill with red zones showing where houses can be built. Photo / Supplied

A family trust that wants to allow housing on a South Auckland volcano says the houses and multi-level apartments would be aimed at low- and middle-income earners.

The Self Family Trust, which runs a privately owned 106ha beef cattle farm on the ancient low-rise volcano of Crater Hill in Papatoetoe, wants to have the land rezoned to allow 575 new homes on the site.

The independent hearings panel which heard submissions on Auckland's new unitary plan supported the proposed change, but Auckland Council officials have advised councillors to reject the proposal.

A trustee who is also the family's accountant, Roger Clark, appealed to councillors to allow the housing to help meet South Auckland's desperate shortage of affordable homes.

"If Auckland is not going to grow in areas like this, where are people going to be housed?" he asked.

The proposed development west of the Southwestern Motorway between Tidal Rd and the Papatoetoe cemetery would be the closest housing to the eastern side of Auckland International Airport, the region's fastest-growing employment node.

"Obviously aircraft go very close to the property, but it's handy," Clark said. "That is why it's going to be a low-cost development. It's aimed at low- to middle-income earners."

He said the Self family would sell the site to developers if the new housing is approved, so it could not predetermine the type of housing a developer might build.

"We are not developers. But from the initial scope of a study I have seen, I would imagine you'd be talking in the $500,000 to $700,000 range - the sort of housing that Auckland desperately needs," he said.

"A lot of it is affordable housing - duplexes and some proposed multi-level stuff."

He said two-thirds of the site would be kept as reserves, including most of the edges of a crater lake in the middle of the site and the edges of creeks draining into the Manukau Harbour.

"That is the vast majority of the crater cone," he said.

The development would include a large quarried area close to the motorway which he said had now been cleanfilled, and a 4ha block along Selfs Rd on the eastern side of the motorway which was already zoned for housing.

"The view that has been put out there so far gives the impression that the trust is going to cannibalise a volcano for its own private benefit. Nothing could be further from the truth," he said.

"If any development does go ahead, the public is going to get better access than they have now to what is a very low-rise natural feature."

- NZ Herald

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