Four months after the last of the sections on the council-led subdivision in Stratford sold, Stratford residents are being asked if they want the council to lead another residential subdivision project in town.
The option of developing another residential subdivision is one of the four big questions in the Long-Term Plan (LTP) 2021-2031 consultation document released by the council last week.
Stratford Mayor Neil Volzke is clear when it comes to his personal opinion on the question.
"I strongly believe developing another subdivision will significantly benefit the entire Stratford district and would like to see this project get the go-ahead from the public and then be fast-tracked and developed as soon as possible."
Neil, who supported the previous council-led Pembroke Rd subdivision project from the start, says the success of that development speaks for itself.
"Work began on that subdivision in February 2019 and tenders for the individual sections opened in the October of that year. The last section was sold just within a year of that point, and council walked away with a modest profit as well. The speed with which these sections sold shows there was a demand for housing in Stratford and that demand still exists, so another subdivision makes good sense for the district."
He says the Pembroke Rd subdivision didn't just benefit the 33 purchasers of the sections.
"It created jobs and activity within the community and we are still seeing the benefit in that as work continues on those sections as people build their houses, landscape their gardens and so on. In addition, we have added new ratepayers to our district and that means rates get shared between more people."
Neil isn't able to comment on where the potential subdivision might be built at this point.
"There are several options available, so if the public support the idea through their submissions to the Long-Term Plan and we go ahead with the project, then we will be working quickly to identify a suitable piece of land for this."
A temporary increase in council debt, projected to be $3,274,000, will be worth it, says Neil.
"More houses means more people. It means more children attending our local schools, more shoppers spending money in our district, more workers available for jobs, more money being spent at the supermarkets, petrol stations, restaurants, and so on. With more people in the district we have the chance of more businesses deciding to set up and operate here. Every new person in our district is a direct gain, and a new subdivision will help bring those new people."
He says the projected capital cost of more than $3.2 million will be repaid once all sections are sold, and he anticipates a modest profit on top of that which will benefit ratepayers in the future. Given the success of the first subdivision project, he says he isn't worried about the risk of sections not selling.
"We will run out of sections before we run out of buyers. And if necessary we can develop in stages to minimise risks."
• Disclosure: Editor Ilona Hanne is married to the CEO of Stratford District Council.
• Have your say: The Long-Term Plan (LTP) 2021-2031 consultation document is out now. It, and a range of supporting documents related to the information it contains, can be viewed on the council's website stratford.govt.nz, at the council's service centre on Miranda St, or at the library and i-Site in Prospero Place.