There's been a mixed response from residents about a new housing development for the homeless in Pukehangi with some happy to welcome struggling locals and others saying it threatens their quiet and safe neighbourhood.
The Government announced on Wednesday it has bought a block of land on Collie Drive for $12.6 million and plans to build a subdivision of 60 houses for those without homes.
The first stage of the 4.6ha subdivision will see 37 homes ready for families by the end of next year.
The houses will be a mix of two, three and four-bedroom homes and will be built offsite and trucked in
Kāinga Ora Homes and Communities will match the homes to people and families on the Housing Register.
Each home will have a deck and fenced backyard with gardens and those selected for the properties will be long-term tenants with priority given to those in greatest need considering the location for work, whānau and education.
Rotorua woman Kerris Browne, whose Pukehangi Airbnb farm stay neighbours the development, said she would welcome the new residents.
Browne, who also leads a local running club, said she would be more than happy to welcome the new residents "over the fence for a cuppa".
"Heck, I'll even post beginner running meet-up flyers in their new letterboxes and get them moving."
She said, in her view, there were two types of homeless people - those who were drug and alcohol-addicted and caused nuisances and struggled to keep a home and those who genuinely struggled to find a rental who could keep a home.
She said the latter had found themselves stuck with those with drug and alcohol issues and were living in terrible situations.
"It's been decades since the government has come up with low-cost homes. I'm excited, I can't wait. Finally, these families will get a home they can call home."
She said the current residents would set the standards of etiquette and would complain immediately if there was noise or nuisance. Either way, she said having people away from the central city motels was a good move.
A Collie Drive resident, who didn't want to be named, said she and her three young children had spent the past few years living in motels and she was thrilled this could mean an end for those families stuck in that way of life.
"I don't care it's right here, as long as they can get out of the motels ... It's so bad in there, crack heads, P heads and gangs."
She said she lived in most of the Fenton St motels and knew how hard it was to find a rental.
But Collie Drive resident Glenda Creswell said she was "not excited" as she had carefully chosen the area two years ago to live a quiet and peaceful life.
"This area is safe and cosy."
She said once the two ends of Collie Drive - off Homedale St and Clayton Rd - were connected in the middle, more traffic would be going through.
"That doesn't please me. When I came here, this wasn't a plan and it's snuck up on us."
Creswell said she had been a beneficiary and knew the struggles some people had but she feared for the elderly, the long-term residents and those unwell who lived on the street who were used to the quiet lifestyle with the country outlook and the sound of farm animals.
"I know it doesn't matter what I say though, it's not going to stop it."
Glenn Snow and Ashley Kururangi said they "sat on fence" about the development.
Snow said it was a peaceful cul-de-sac and their children were able to safely play outside and he liked the fact there was little traffic.
Kururangi said it was early days and although not thrilled the development was being built next door, she said Rotorua desperately needed more houses.
"There is a housing crisis and maybe it will balance the prices out a bit because of the shortage of houses at the moment."
Richard Herniman lives on the 8ha vacant block of land that directly neighbours the new subdivision. He said his land was in the process of being sold and developed privately and he would soon be leaving the area, having lived there for 27 years.
He said he read about the Kāinga Ora plans and said it looked fine.
"If they look good and are built property it'll be okay. Everyone is entitled to live somewhere."
Herniman said he hoped the sections were a decent size because if they were too cramped, they'd end up looking like slums.
Homedale St resident Kerri Anne Hancock said she was disappointed to see negative Facebook comments from the community about the development.
"We have more than 300 whānau and tamariki living in hotels [and motels]. This is a great step towards creating a hapori [community] for our people to live and more importantly for our tamariki to flourish. I'd much prefer my taxpayer dollars go towards these homes than to emergency housing."
She said she lived next door to the subdivision and looked forward to the vibrancy that would be brought to the community with the whānau given the opportunity to live there.
She said it would be a challenge for everyone to help manage any adverse behaviour.
"But a challenge that I hope we can all step up to and tackle with aroha and empathy."
Collie Drive resident Paul Jenkin said he was a country person and liked looking out across the paddocks from his home.
However, he said it looked as though the new houses would be built nicely.
A community drop-in session to hear more about the Collie Drive development is being held on December 2 between 5pm and 6.30pm at Aorangi School Hall on Gem St.