Plans for an ambitious eco-friendly village in Whangārei have been dropped, with the backers saying a perfect storm of circumstances were behind the decision.
The Ahi Wai Eco Neighbourhood - the first of its kind for the region with co-housing and community living - was planned to be built at 13b Cross St, Regent.
The backers say it's a sad day for the district that they had to can the plan as there was already a housing shortage.
In 2020 Whangārei District Council gave the Ahi Wai eco-village the go-ahead and plans for the 7700sq m site at the Regent were then available to anyone who was interested.
But, the backers have decided that it is no longer viable for them to progress with their proposed urban subdivision.
"It was a perfect storm of council restrictions, supply shortages due to Covid and escalating costs that led us to the conclusion that the prudent step was to wind up our operation," founding member Shaun Davison said.
The group had been working on the project since 2015. They had gained resource consent, had detailed engineering plans for infrastructure and healthy houses, along with committed investors for most of the freehold lots.
The Ahi Wai project planned to build 17 homes on the site. The co-housing development included a mix of private house ownership, a common house and a communal village green. Unfortunately, infrastructure costs increased by $2 million from initial costings carried out in 2018, Davidson said.
A village green and a community house - complete with a kitchen, dining area, extra accommodation, laundry, library, and even a nearby swimming pool were to form a central hub to the project.
The houses were to face the communal area but also have courtyards at the back for privacy. Each one would have been built with high levels of energy efficiency.
"We realised that by stopping the project now, we will be able to sell the land and pay investors back their money. It is a sad day for Whangārei, especially considering the severe shortage of houses in NZ,'' he said.
''We had hoped to be able to offer a way of housing people that was supportive and sustainable and in the long term affordable. A way that would be of benefit for generations to come – but it was not to be."