Hous­ing plan cut

Central Leader - - Front Page - By Heather McCracken

A PLAN to build af­ford­able hous­ing in Mt Roskill has been se­cretly dumped.

Auck­land City Coun­cil of­fi­cers re­vealed this week that an as­sisted home-own­er­ship project in Denny Ave is no longer be­ing de­vel­oped.

The project was part of a part­ner­ship with the New Zealand Hous­ing Foun­da­tion, which is be­ing re­drawn af­ter coun­cil pulled sev­eral mil­lion dol­lars in fund­ing.

Arts, com­mu­nity and recre­ation group man­ager Ruth Stokes said at a meet­ing on Wed­nes­day the new agree­ment “does not in­clude the Denny Ave site.”

She said the prop­erty re­mained in coun­cil own­er­ship “at this time”.

Fur­ther dis­cus­sion was stopped by group gen­eral man­ager Jill McPher­son, who said it would be cov­ered in the con­fi­den­tial part of the meet­ing.

Coun­cil­lor Cathy Casey, who cham­pi­oned the hous­ing project un­der the pre­vi­ous coun­cil, says she wasn’t aware un­til the meet­ing that Denny Ave had been cut.

“I’m per­son­ally dis­ap­pointed that it’s off the ta­ble and I don’t know why, there wasn’t a sat­is­fac­tory ex­pla­na­tion given.”

She says only last year the coun­cil were trum­pet­ing the project as pro­gres­sive and sus­tain­able.

Com­mu­nity ser­vices chair­man Paul Gold­smith con­firmed af­ter the meet­ing that the prop­erty is not part of the cur­rent fund­ing deal.

The site will be con­sid­ered again af­ter the agree­ment is set.

He says fur­ther de­tails can’t be re­vealed as ne­go­ti­a­tions are con­fi­den­tial.

Foun­da­tion ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Brian Don­nelly says he is wait­ing to hear the out­come of coun­cil dis­cus- sions, and can’t com­ment in the mean­time.

The Denny Ave prop­erty was an­nounced in Septem­ber 2007 as the first site to be de­vel­oped un­der a $9 mil­lion as­sisted home-own­er­ship deal.

That scheme was scaled back af­ter John Banks’ coun­cil came to power, us­ing a le­gal loop­hole to back out of the orig­i­nal con­tract.

In De­cem­ber the foun­da­tion said they still ex­pected to con­tinue with the Denny Ave project as part of a rene­go­ti­ated $2.5m deal.

The lat­est change was re­vealed at Wed­nes­day’s com­mu­nity ser­vices com­mit­tee meet­ing.

Coun­cil­lors were dis­cussing an au­di­tor gen­eral’s re­port re­leased last month into coun­cil’s u-turn on the hous­ing scheme.

The re­port found coun­cil acted within the law, but some as­pects of the de­ci­sion-mak­ing could have been im­proved.

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