Otago Daily Times

Com­mu­nity hous­ing de­ci­sion put on hold


- ABBEY PALMER Society · Southland, Texas

A DE­CI­SION on whether the South­land Dis­trict Coun­cil will ap­prove $50,000 for a busi­ness case on its com­mu­nity hous­ing has been put on hold.

A re­port by prop­erty ser­vices man­ager Kevin Mc­Naught pre­sented at this week’s coun­cil meet­ing rec­om­mended it ap­prove the fund­ing to help coun­cil­lors make a de­ci­sion about the fu­ture of its com­mu­nity hous­ing — in­clud­ing whether to di­vest.

Sev­eral coun­cil­lors dis­agreed with tak­ing $50,000 of un­bud­geted ex­pen­di­ture from the com­mu­nity hous­ing re­serve ac­count.

Cr Ebel Kre­mer said staff al­ready had enough rel­e­vant ex­pe­ri­ence and knowl­edge.

‘‘I can­not be­lieve we’re go­ing to spend $50K try­ing to work out what we don’t know when we’ve been look­ing at this for so many years.’’

In 2018, a re­port by Mor­ri­son Low rec­om­mended the coun­cil opt out of com­mu­nity hous­ing, how­ever the coun­cil agreed fur­ther anal­y­sis and re­port­ing was needed.

Mayor Gary Tong agreed the coun­cil had enough knowl­edge al­ready ‘‘in­house’’ to come up with a plan and res­o­lu­tion.

Cr George Harpur said it was the sec­ond time di­vest­ing from com­mu­nity hous­ing had been dis­cussed and ‘‘noth­ing has hap­pened’’.

There were 69 units in the coun­cil’s com­mu­nity hous­ing stock, in 10 town­ships.

Of those, five units were va­cant, and 52 were ten­anted by pen­sion­ers.

Sev­eral is­sues had been iden­ti­fied, in­clud­ing af­ford­abil­ity of man­ag­ing the stock and ap­pro­pri­ate rental rates, a lack of clar­ity about need and pur­pose, stock’s suit­abil­ity in terms of con­di­tion and lo­ca­tion, and reg­u­la­tions.

Coun­cil­lors agreed a work­shop would be held to de­ter­mine the fu­ture of com­mu­nity hous­ing.

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