Potential housing boom

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Thousands of new houses proposed for Queenstown could almost halve the resort’s affordable housing waiting list.

Two new primary schools are also planned, the Ministry of Education has confirmed.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council is expecting to receive four new special housing area (SHA) expressions of interest in April, including a 1500-house development in Gibbston.

They have been described as a ”game-changer” by a district councillor, but public feedback on another proposal along Ladies Mile has been less than glowing.

In a report to the council about the Laurel Hills SHA proposal, staff refer to four other expected proposals: the 600-house Coneburn SHA, north of Hanley’s Farm, Glenpanel East and Glenpanel West at Ladies Mile, which proposes a minimum of 300 houses, and Avalon, a 1500-house proposal at Victoria Flats, near the end of Gibbston.

They would be in addition to Laurel Hills, which proposes 156 homes built on 9.4ha of land along Ladies Mile.

In the report, council staff have recommended councillors approve the proposal.

District councillor John MacDonald said the SHAs could be a ”game-changer”.

”We’re a long way from saying we’re going to get these off the ground, but it’s exciting to see some of it there.”

He sympathised with people concerned about inadequate infrastructure, particularly around roading.

But, he said, it was a ”catch-22” situation.

”Do we sit on our hands and do nothing, and watch our property prices increase?

”Or do we get on and some development that would hopefully force the NZ Transport Agency to rectify the problem?”

Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust chief executive Julie Scott said the impact of the new developments would be ”massive”.

The council’s SHA policy requires 10% of land that can be developed be given to the trust, which now has a waiting list of 585 people.

The houses that would be allocated to it from the new developments would slash that by 40%.

Meanwhile, submissions on Laurel Hills were publicly released yesterday.

Of the more than 300 submitted, just three were predominantly in favour.

Nearly all submitters against the proposal referenced increasing traffic congestion as a bone of contention, and several described the development as ”madness”.

Councillors will decide tomorrow whether to approve the proposal in principle, which is the course of action recommended by council staff.

Staff make their recommendations based on planning laws, rather than public submissions.

In their report to councillors, they say it should be given the green light, but warn the council will have to balance the need for housing with easing traffic congestion.

”The district is facing a severe housing crisis in terms of rental costs and house prices being the highest in New Zealand, and the expression of interest would provide additional supply in a timely fashion.”