‘Satellite town’ 100km from QT
Workers forced out of Queenstown by unaffordable accommodation are setting up home in Lumsden, about 100 kilometres south of the resort town.
Builder Glenn Duthie is one of a growing number of commuters in the rural town and said he had no desire to leave. ‘‘It’s becoming a satellite town for Queenstown,’’ he said.
He travelled about 200km a day on weekdays, as Queenstown had a ‘‘crazy’’ amount of building work.
‘‘Builders are in high demand and are receiving pretty good hourly rates. There’s truck loads of work [in Queenstown],’’ he said.
Duthie’s hourly rate rose by $7 in four years of working for the same company in Queenstown and was higher than in Southland.
In Lumsden for 10 years, Duthie said the Southland town was affordable and had all necessary services.
‘‘Young people who want to play and party – it does not work for them but for young families you can’t beat Lumsden.’’
While it takes Duthie an hour to travel to work at Jacks Point, he says some of his colleagues take longer to get home to Arrowtown.
‘‘People spend that long getting from one side of Queenstown to another, depending on what’s happening with the bridge [Kawarau Falls Bridge].’’
When he moved 10 years ago he did not see as many people commuting for work to Queenstown.
‘‘We certainly noticed the increase in demand. There’s probably just a couple of properties for sale at the moment.’’
Office worker Anna Highfield and her husband also live in Lumsden and have been commuting daily to Queenstown for over 10 years.
‘‘We can afford to buy something here because in Queenstown it’s extremely difficult to even hire a unit,’’ she said.
Highfield knew of others who commuted and car pooled for work.
‘‘There’s [Duthie] and two other builders who work in Queenstown that I know of.’’
The trip to work got ‘‘a bit tricky’’ with more tourists driving in the area, Highfield said.
Builder Ali MacGregor, of Athol, commuted 75km to work at Jack’s Point. He earned more money working in Queenstown than he would elsewhere in Southland.
MacGregor preferred lifestyle and affordability.