State housing provider Kāinga Ora has bought land in Whangārei in a $3 million-plus deal to build 26 new homes.
The land, at Pearce Drive, Kamo, was bought on July 10 for $3.404m. The 20-lot block, east of Kamo bypass, has already been developed with roading infrastructure but has been empty for a number of years.
The Government is planning 217 extra state houses in Northland over four years. Kāinga Ora said it was too early to say what type of houses would be built in Pearce Drive.
"Design, planning and consenting work is all yet to begin,''a spokesman said.
The exact house size, number of bedrooms and other design detail were not yet known.
Whangārei District Council (WDC) has welcomed the plan. Alison Geddes, WDC general manager – planning and development, said it was positive news.
But Pearce Drive residents spoken to by the Northern Advocate were lukewarm.
They were unaware of the new development which will more than double the number of houses at the end of their currently only one-third full cul-de-sac.
One resident, who did not want to be named, was extremely wary of the new development saying it would effectively become a state housing estate, which brought the risk of the street being stigmatised.
Having a big group of state houses together in one place would change the value of surrounding homes, the resident said.
The resident's preference was for dispersed small clusters of only a few state houses spread widely through Whangārei's existing suburbs.
Resident Toni Houghton (Ngātiwai) said new state housing was much needed due to New Zealand's social housing shortage.
But the development would change the nature of the quiet cul-de-sac's closeknit community where children played together in the street and everyone looked out for each other.
Houghton has lived in the local area almost all her life. She rents a house with her partner and is shortly to give birth to her fifth child. Her mother has just moved into a Kāinga Ora Totara Parklands, Tikipunga house and lives there with Toni's grandmother and two younger sisters.
There are about 15 homes already built towards the Pearce Drive cul-de-sac entrance, several Kāinga Ora houses among these. They also include property renovated in 2005 when two couples famously battled it out in a reality TV competition towards winning a free new home.
Colin Twyman, Kamo Community Inc chairman, was cautiously welcoming when told about the plan by the Northern Advocate.
He said the location was probably a better place for a Kāinga Ora development than the controversial Puriri Park Rd, Maunu proposal.
"I don't think there's any problem with the development at this end of town," Twyman said.
The development would be a positive for Kamo businesses.
Its residents would include younger people which was great news for Kamo's ageing population.
The leader of the opposition to a controversial Kāinga Ora development at Puriri Park Rd, said the new Kamo development was a positive for the northern Whangārei suburb.
Trevor Reader, Puriri Park and Maunu Residents Association chairman, said Pearce Drive was a good fit for the new housing development.
"The block's already been earmarked for housing and has the infrastructure," Reader said.
Kāinga Ora has got 2200 properties in Northland.
The association has been fighting Kāinga Ora's Puriri Park Rd development all the way, and recently lodged a petition in Parliament, calling on the highest law-making body to investigate the proposed development.
Kāinga Ora has been given the greenlight by independent commissioners to build 37 state houses on 3.2ha of land on Puriri Park Rd zoned for residential housing by the Whangārei District Council.
The 371-signature petition by the association has been referred to the Social Services and Community Committee for consideration. The petition asks Parliament to inquire into the actions and policies of all parties, including local government and government departments, past and present, in regard to the use, purchase, consenting, and development of land in question at Puriri Park Rd.
It also wants an inquiry leading up to and including the current development by Kāinga Ora and its predecessor Housing New Zealand.
Ministry of Social Development figures show there were 338 people on Whangārei's social housing waiting list in March - with about 90 per cent (300) classed in the highest at risk category.