Pen­sioner project on track

South Waikato News - - Conversations - FRANCES FER­GU­SON

A $950,000 pen­sioner hous­ing project in Toko­roa is still on track to start in May de­spite a set­back in builders.

The project, on a Kinder­garten St cor­ner re­serve, was to be built by car­pen­try stu­dents from Wa­iariki In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy, but that ar­range­ment was can­celled when it be­came clear the num­ber of units would take to long to build.

Head of depart­ment for car­pen­try John Kelly said it was a mu­tual de­ci­sion be­tween Wa­iariki and the South Waikato District Coun­cil.

He said the hours avail­able for stu­dents to work on the project did not fit in with their timetable.

"As we got closer to the project it be­came clear it wasn’t go­ing to hap­pen," he said

"Our stu­dents need to learn with­out be­ing un­der pres­sure."

Kelly said the best so­lu­tion was to back out of the project for the ben­e­fit of the res­i­dents wait­ing to oc­cupy the units.

Ru­mours cir­cu­lat­ing that the stu­dents failed a drug test were in­cor­rect, Kelly said.

He said com­pul­sory drug test­ing for en­rol­ments in the trade cour­ses were in­tro­duced this year.

JK Homes, a lo­cal con­trac­tor, will now work with high school stu­dents from the Gate­way Pro­gramme to com­plete the project.

Deputy Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Ben Smit said the six units would take two years to com­plete, rather than three to four as orig­i­nally planned.

"Coun­cil is very pleased that we are still able to build the units us­ing a coun­cil, busi­ness, com­mu­nity part­ner­ship, util­is­ing lo­cal labour and fur­ther de­vel­op­ing and train­ing our young peo­ple."

Kylie Kingi, of JK Holmes, said they sup­ported sourc­ing lo­cal labour and cre­at­ing em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties in the South Waikato.

"It was an easy de­ci­sion for us to put in a quote for the project.

"We fully sup­port ... pro­vid­ing young peo­ple the op­por­tu­ni­ties to gain trade skills. And we liked the idea of build­ing new... homes for our older peo­ple."

Con­struc­tion is ex­pected to start this month.

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