Growth soars as Cen­tral ‘dis­cov­ered’

Otago Daily Times - - Regions - JONO ED­WARDS

A 500% in­crease in con­sents for new homes in the Alexan­dra, Clyde and Omakau area is ‘‘ab­so­lutely a pos­i­tive’’, but the lo­cal coun­cil has to keep an eye on de­vel­op­ment, Cen­tral Otago’s mayor says.

The Vin­cent area, which in­cludes the three towns, had five times as many con­sents is­sued from April to June this year as it did in the same pe­riod two years ago.

Across the whole Cen­tral Otago Dis­trict Coun­cil area, there has been a 238% in­crease in new build­ing consent num­bers and a 282% in­crease in the dol­lar value of the con­sents is­sued in that pe­riod.

Cen­tral Otago Mayor Tim Cado­gan said the fig­ures were great news.

‘‘We have to do mod­el­ling and pre­dic­tions as to where that growth is go­ing to take us and get in­fra­struc­ture to meet that de­mand, while keep­ing that af­ford­able for the cur­rent ratepayer base.’’

He said an ex­am­ple of the coun­cil aid­ing growth was the Vin­cent Com­mu­nity Board de­cid­ing to re­lease a 6.5ha par­cel of res­i­den­tial land in Au­gust, which could cre­ate 55 to 63 lots.

‘‘Some peo­ple want Cen­tral Otago to stay the way it was five min­utes af­ter they moved here, but we just can’t do that, be­cause peo­ple are go­ing to come any­way. If there’s no sup­ply of land, then the price just goes up and I don’t think that’s good for any­body.’’

The growth of the area was due to a com­bi­na­tion of fac­tors, he said.

‘‘Cen­tral Otago has been dis­cov­ered. A lot of peo­ple are find­ing it’s an at­trac­tive op­tion to travel here from afar.’’

Coun­cil plan­ning and en­vi­ron­ment man­ager Louise van der Voort said at a coun­cil meet­ing last week the rise in con­sents at times put a strain on plan­ning staff.

While it had ad­e­quate staffing based on the number of re­source consent ap­pli­ca­tions, there were many un­of­fi­cial queries from the public, which took up a lot of staff time.

jono.ed­wards@odt.co.nz

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