The government has approved fast-track consenting for 400 to 600 units of desperately needed workers’ accommodation in Queenstown.
Australian-based No.1 Hansen Road Ltd’s planning the units — over seven or eight purpose-designed buildings — for its Junction Village development across State Highway 6 from the Events Centre.
It’s already under way with a three-level car storage building.
Sydney-based director Eli Shellim says the government’s approved the first-stage referral for the housing project under the Covid-19 (Fast-track Consenting) Act.
His company will now proceed with a full resource consent application that’ll be determined by an expert consenting panel in Wellington.
The owners, he says, believe the project will go a long way towards solving one of the biggest problems facing the local tourism industry and wider Queenstown-Lakes economy, resulting in hundreds of workers sleeping in tents and cars and couch-surfing in recent times.
Shellim also considers a key feature of the project is its prime location near Frankton’s retail, commercial and light industrial areas, the airport and a soon-to-be expanded public transport hub.
He’s hoping the consenting panel will hear the application later this year or early next year ‘‘and, following a positive outcome and the necessary building consent processes, the first buildings would begin construction and then be completed by around mid-2025’’.
‘‘Subsequent buildings would then be completed every six months thereafter.’’
Shellim says the buildings, ranging between three and six storeys, are being designed.
There’ll be four room types — lodge rooms with shared facilities and one-, two- and three-bedroom units with their own facilities.
Rooms would be leased through an on-site property management company — ‘‘this would enable either individuals or couples to rent rooms, or companies could rent any number of rooms for their staff’’.
As to the challenge of rising building costs, Shellim says they’re aware ‘‘it’s a complex and constantly-changing subject, but the owners are also aware an early partnership with all participants in the process is a key to a successful overall outcome’’.
Meanwhile, he expects the carpark structure — being built by CMP Construction — will be up by the end of this year.
It’ll accommodate 166-plus vehicles of different sizes and is designed for locals and out-of-towners who travel regularly here.
Most spaces come with a storage locker for the likes of bikes, skis and golf clubs.
A commercial floor may be added to the building, while future plans for the site include a ski and mountain bike lodge.