The Stratford District Council will go ahead with a new subdivision, despite one councillor's stance against the decision.
Council CEO Sven Hanne tabled a report yesterday's ordinary council meeting which sought to clarify whether the Long Term Plan decision for council to develop a subdivision was still supported by councillors.
Through his tabled report, Sven sought conformation from councillors that they still supported the subdivision and were not looking for a change in direction.
He recommended that council adopt option one of the plan which was to continue with the project to develop a residential subdivision as outlined in the council's long term plan to "enable new houses in a modern quality subdivision".
Councillor Squire spoke against the recommendation.
"I can't support option one because it doesn't use the right terminology, it should be aimed at affordable housing."
Cr Squire said he was concerned the council would end up with "hit and miss" housing projects.
He wanted the council to halt the residential development project pending the development of a council housing strategy which would explore the needs of the community.
Mayor Neil Volzke said it was not councils intention to build houses but to provide sections.
Cr John Sanford called for a division, with all but Cr Squire voting in favour of the option. Sven said work would begin straight away.
The development has been budgeted for in the long term plan, with $1,541,00 set aside for the current financial year $1,l582,500 in 2018/19 and $1,665,000 in 2019/2020. Income from section sales is anticipated to start in the 2019-20 year and will off-set earlier expenditure.
The subdivision had been consulted upon as part of the 2015-2025 Long Term Plan and endorsed by the community with 34 submissions in favour and 14 against.
"Therefore it is considered to be expressed wish of the community for council to deliver this project."
The purpose of the report was to ensure staff did not incur unnecessary cost or bring council into disrepute by council withdrawing its support. Cr Sanford spoke in favour of option one.
"I totally agree - the sooner the better. There's so many people waiting for this to happen."Cr Graham Kelly questioned whether council had looked into the purchase of any land.
Neil said that was not what the debate was centred around. The meeting was to see whether council still supported the development.
"If the answer is yes, officers will go away and identify a place."
Neil said there was no point in looking into land options if the council was going to turn around and back out. During the development of the 2015 - 2025 long term plan, the council identified that a shortage of quality housing sections was hindering population growth and economic development in the district. It was considered unlikely that a commercial developer would show an interest in the Stratford market as section prices achieved in Stratford at the time had little potential for the level of return on investment that developers could achieve elsewhere.