Rethink the region’s housing crisis
I have been a property owner and landlord in the Cromwell region providing a reasonably-priced long term house rental on my vineyard in the Pisa area for many years. This has provided me with a valuable insight into the accommodation needs of people in the area.
I read with considerable interest the mayor’s article, Matching Supply and Demand
( Mirror, March 22) and I believe there are wider issues to be investigated, identified, discussed and taken into account to effect meaningful improvements to the present accommodation crisis.
The wider Central Otago housing market involves a range of accommodation needs. AirBnB, Bookabach and the like serve the tourism and holiday markets. Many tourists want the deeper and richer experience provided by this model and we need to embrace this enthusiastically. I don’t believe these remove longer term rentals from the market or increase long term rental costs. Those working in the region wanting accommodation have different requirements.
Many towns and cities around the world have faced rapid growth and neglected infrastructure and adequate planning to meet community needs. We can learn from their successes. Mixed housing with apartments, attached and detached houses, coupled with a focus on community and sustainable living, local parks and allotment style vegetable gardens provide affordable options for a wide range of people and a richer, more interesting suburban landscape.
At present, we struggle to properly understand what accommodation is required and fall back on old stereotypes; subdivisions with detached houses and workers’ accommodation in barrack style buildings. These are distant from shops and have little or no transport infrastructure so everyone becomes reliant on the family car. The result is soulless suburbs dominated by cars and the isolation that brings.
Reasonably priced accommodation for workers has been an issue for more than ten years.
To say the council has very limited tools to influence things is a self-limiting position.
The council needs a welldeveloped vision for the future of the region and to provide the leadership to ensure all developments undertaken lead in that direction. It does not have to do everything, but it must hold the collective future vision and drive the agenda to reach it.
Advocating ever smaller sections being approved to build on is simplistic; the issues are more complex and require a much more sophisticated approach. We need to re-think the detached house subdivision model completely.
Rather than making one or two people rich by carving up ever smaller pieces of land, let’s focus on enriching the whole community to build something more comprehensive.
Janiene Bayliss is co owner of Ata Mara Vineyard.