Arrowtowners have certainly vented their spleens over the tiny town’s controversial affordable-housing project.
A whopping 263 submissions winged into Queenstown Lakes District Council over a proposal to gift public land in Suffolk Street to the community housing trust for 10 low-rent homes.
While a majority appeared to support, the blood of some objectors was at boiling point.
Many objections came from the NIMBY brigade – Not In My Back Yard, thanks very much.
Angus Small of McDonnell Road sums up the NIMBYs: “Affordable housing is suited to such areas as Lakeside Estate, Arthurs Point, Fernhill – not Arrowtown.”
Several other opponents were worried about the type of tenants the rental properties will attract.
John Hamilton: “We don’t need white or black trash renting cheap houses in Arrowtown.”
The housing complex will also hit neighbouring property values, objectors like Phil Causer feared: “This will have a direct effect on the valuations of my property and all others on Suffolk St.”
Then there were the politics of envy – such as this from Bill Churstain: “We don’t want a few to have subsidised rent here!”
The largest bloc of objectors were those worried about an affordable-housing complex jeopardising plans for a new rugby and community sports facility. Those Arrowtowners were the winners at this week’s council meeting.
Councillors approved an amended proposal to give the Suffolk St land to the trust, conditional on construction of the 10 homes being staged – so the rugby club can use its existing facilities until its own new building is done.
Council approval is also conditional on the housing trust obtaining Government funding – a key point, according to officials.
“The community’s economic interest is best served by the community housing trust proposal because it attracts considerable Government funding that provides a significant multiplier to the community’s equity,” councillors were advised this week.
One of the more interesting opposition submissions came from Arrowtowner John Harrington, a former trustee of the community housing trust, revealing he resigned a few years ago when it “deviated” from its original objective by doing “commercial transactions”.
His submission says he’s “not anti the trust [but] I never saw the trust as developers and wanted no part of it”.
Government Housing Minister Nick Smith confirms the trust is getting a $1 million grant for the units, and applauds the council for ignoring complaints.
Some Suffolk Street bleats
Yikes, it’ll lower the tone
John Hamilton: “We don’t need white or black trash renting cheap houses in Arrowtown. Poor people can’t afford to live here and I want to keep it that way.”
David Bigland: “Putting rental housing for what will be transient people on this jewel is insane. This will change the integrity of our community.”
June Watson: “This land is far too valuable to be used for a low-cost rental development.”
Arthur Murphy: “This is prime land and not the place for rentals.”
Annette Churstain: “Tenants do NOT look after properties.”
Sarah Braithwaite: “Building it here would have a detrimental effect on the community.”
Phil & Liz Winstone: “A few low-cost tenanted houses will not add to the Arrowtown charm.”
And hit property values
Lucy Hunt: “The immediate residents have paid handsomely to own property here and you are willing to throw it back in their face with high-density, low-cost housing next door.”
Phil Causer: “This will have a direct effect on the valuations of my property and all others on Suffolk St.”
Not In My Back Yard
Mary Murphy: “There’s affordable housing in Shotover Country – put it there, not Arrowtown.”
Rebecca Mitchell: “Lake Hayes Estate – not the quaint community of Arrowtown.”
Arthur Gormack: “That type of housing should be on land that is not prime land and on the outskirts of town, more like Arthurs Point.”
Angus Small: “Affordable housing is suited to such areas as Lakeside Estate, Arthurs Point, Fernhill – not Arrowtown.”
Shirley Bartlett: “Perhaps look at Jack’s Point – I’m sure there’s plenty of available land there.”
Suzanne Edgerton: “We don’t see affordable housing popping up in the centre of Queenstown or Queenstown Hill, do we?”
Tracey Grant: “This land belongs to the whole community, not just a select few.”
Bill Churstain: “We don’t want a few to have subsidised rent here!”
Michael Tierney: “Council’s core responsibilities do not include social engineering.”
Murray Keene: “Me and my wife worked long hours in Australia for years to afford our house in Arrowtown.”