Token rental: The Nairn St property, in Arrowtown

Almost two years after hiking the land rental for an Arrowtown house by almost $35,000, City Hall’s failed to sell it – twice.

It’s now decided to lease it to the Living Options Charitable Trust, to provide support for the disabled community, which will pay $1 a year for the next 10 years to occupy it.

The council’s owned the 614 square metres the Nairn Street house sits on since 1876.

It forms part of the Arrowtown Endowment Fund – money from which can be used for anything from promoting the village to helping its residents.

The three-bedroom, one-bathroom house had been owned by former Arrowtowner Bill Swann since the mid-1960s.

He lived there with Gweneth Marshall, but as Mountain Scene reported in November 2017, they had to move to Invercargill when the land rental jumped from $4125 a year to $39,000 a year.

Popular Arrowtown couple Gweneth Marshall and Bill Swann, pictured at the house in 2017 before moving to Invercargill

That was because they came to the end of their ‘Glasgow lease’, after which the council did a market review.

This week he told Scene “that doesn’t bloody work, in my book”.

Swann was given an option in 2007 to buy out the land component, which wasn’t taken up, and also offered another five years at $5000, also rejected.

Ultimately the council paid him almost $300,000 for the property in 2017, after which he and Marshall moved south.

In June that year the council resolved to declare it “surplus land” and sell it and the house – as of July 1, 2017 it had a rating valuation of $835,000, according to

It was listed for sale by tender in late 2018 – Swann says the council was trying to flick it for $1 million – but “no sale was concluded”. It went back on the market again early this year.

In a report to last week’s full council meeting, property man Dan Cruickshank said despite several offers landing, they weren’t at or above market valuation – at that time $985,000.

“The property was subsequently de-listed, with the intention to re-list it at a later date, subject to market conditions.”

Meanwhile, Alexandra-based Living Options Charitable Trust, which supports disabled people in the district, wants to set up a day activity centre in the Wakatipu.

While it’s had a base at Queenstown’s Lakeview since last year, that’s due for demolition.

Living Options estimates it’ll cost $150,000 to make the house, opposite a reserve, fit-for-purpose – which they’ll have to pay for – and at the end of the 10-year term they’ll have to reinstate it.

The rental rate’s in line with council’s community facility pricing policy.

Swann says he was annoyed at the time, but is now over it. “I don’t give a shit what they do with it.”

He did, however, question why it hadn’t been used as rental stock to help house people over the last two years.