For sale signs have started going up following the announcement that a 19-unit village offering short-term housing for homeless families was planned for Papamoa.

The link between the sale signs and the announcement of the village on June 23 was made by a Summerland Cres homeowner on the day a 112-signature petition from nearby residents was considered by the Tauranga City Council.

Anita Smith told the Bay of Plenty Times after the debate that four signs had gone up and one house turned into a rental since residents had received letters informing them about the village in Opal Drive.

Mrs Smith and husband Grahame were among the petitioners who filled the public gallery of the July 18 meeting to support the call for the council to either withdraw the Memorandum of Understanding with Housing New Zealand or withdraw the lease for its 6500sq m block in Opal Drive.


The Smith's retirement home was one of 10 in Summerland Cres that would back on to the transitional housing village.

Mr Smith said they understood that homeless people needed to be housed and that some families would be as good as gold, but not everyone. It was the fear of the unknown, with security their big concern.

Each family would be housed for an average of 12 weeks until they found a permanent home, with the housing provider having a permanent presence on the site.

The council voted to press ahead with providing land for the village, with Councillor Steve Morris expressing regret at the slowness of communications with residents and how the application for the village was affecting their most valued asset, their homes.

A door knock by the Bay of Plenty Times on houses with for sale signs in Summerland Cres, Doncaster Dr and Opal Dr failed to turn up anyone willing to speak on the record.

A woman's voice from behind a dark screen door said, "I can't talk to the press, I'm sorry, I just can't."

Another householder said it did not worry them because they were selling for other reasons. They had been talking to a real estate agent prior to the announcement because they were going into a retirement home.

Another couple said the announcement had been a catalyst. They had been thinking about moving for a couple of years.


The occupants of one house were not at home while another door was answered by a tenant of the house.

Councillor Leanne Brown said yesterday that she would like to speak to the residents who were selling to understand why they were moving. She had no evidence to say that the houses put up for sale were directly attributable to the housing project.

She said one lady was already considering downsizing to a smaller home when the village plan was announced, although it may have firmed up her idea to shift.

Papamoa Progressive Association deputy chairman Ron Melville said it was rumoured that the people wanting to move appeared to be motivated by the village. ''I don't know the owners personally.''

He said everyone had different views on the village, with the majority of association members viewing it positively. ''It is a useful step in assisting those people that need to housed.''

A letter tabled at the July 18 council meeting shed light on the timeline by which the council had been considering the Opal Dr site for emergency housing.

Council chief executive Garry Poole's May 29 letter responded to an April 10 letter from the Housing Affordability Forum regarding the land.

Mr Poole said the council had been considering its response to interest in the site from a number of parties.

"As per previous decisions regarding the development of 45 Opal Dr, all interest has been aligned with utilising this site for a range of social and/or emergency housing solutions."

He said that following council discussions over the last two weeks, elected members had recently instructed staff to proceed with lease negotiations with an emergency housing provider.

"Please note any decision would be subject to a public consenting process," he told forum acting chairwoman Christine Ralph.

The Memorandum of Understanding between the council and the proposed lessee of the land, Housing New Zealand, was signed on June 26.