Big spend-up on worker digs

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Snapped up by Skyline: The Huff St home

Queenstown’s housing crisis has forced a tourism giant and a developer to pursue worker digs.

Gondola operator Skyline Enterprises and Queenstown Country Club developer Sanderson Group have moved to provide their own accommodation.

And Queenstown’s council is nudging others to do the same.

Mountain Scene understands Skyline spent about $1.7 million buying two central Queenstown properties at an auction in December.

The company, which also has accommodation and property interests in town, bought a four-bedroom home in Huff Street and an adjacent section.

“We were pleased to secure those because Skyline certainly recognises staff housing is an issue now, and in the future,” executive chairman Mark Quickfall says.

Skyline’s “absolutely” looking at investing in more staff housing, he says.

Sanderson Group has lodged consent for temporary worker accommodation during construction of its massive Queenstown Country Club site.

The 53-hectare retirement village next to Lake Hayes Estate is yet to get council go-ahead

But the company has still put in a separate application for 40 relocatable single-bed units for workers.

The temporary accommodation would be on-site for four to five years.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei came out against the development on Wednesday, saying so-called special housing areas were created to provide more homes for working people.

“So there’s an irony that workers are being housed in temporary accommodation while they’re building luxury retirement homes.”

In approving the $100 million Remarkables Residences housing complex at Frankton, Queenstown’s council suggested on-site accommodation for workers.

GYP Properties’ boss Mah Bow Tan says: “It’s a sensible suggestion.”

Council boss Mike Theelen says it’s warning developers with large workforces of the tight housing market.

Quickfall says Skyline’s provides staff housing on the West Coast, through subsidiary Totally Tourism.

“But it’s something we realistically need to address [in Queenstown].”

Quickfall expects the Huff St digs will be “very good for staff relocating to Queenstown to join Skyline – it might be a stop-gap measure for them”.

Skyline will develop the 885 square metre next-door section, too – “we’ve got some options for the type of housing”.

Late last year, a $30m worker accommodation development in Gorge Road was canned.

ed@scene.co.nz