House solves staffing is­sue

Otago Daily Times - - REGIONS - MARK PRICE [email protected]

BUY­ING a house for ca­sual staff is one way Wanaka busi­nesses are en­sur­ing they have enough work­ers over the busy sum­mer and win­ter sea­sons.

Kai Whaka­pai cafe owner Roger North bought an old crib two years ago and said he was well set for staff for the busy sum­mer sea­son.

Rac­ers Edge owner Steve Schikker also bought a house for staff but is now go­ing to a whole new level — ap­ply­ing for re­source con­sent for a ninevilla vil­lage de­signed for 90 sea­sonal staff.

Ig­nite Wanaka Cham­ber of Com­merce chair­woman Brid­get Leg­navsky said yesterday af­ford­able hous­ing ‘‘cer­tainly sits at the top of the list when it comes to is­sues for the town’’.

While it was ‘‘tricky’’ to get skilled or un­skilled staff, the Wanaka sit­u­a­tion was not as bad as in Queen­stown, she said.

The Wanaka work­force was more sta­ble than that in Queen­stown, where there was a faster turnover.

‘‘The key is­sue in Wanaka is af­ford­able hous­ing.’’

Mr North said staff pre­ferred to rent smaller units than large houses and a change in the rules al­low­ing that sort of de­vel­op­ment would help.

‘‘You can have 20 rooms in your house if you like and you don’t need spe­cial per­mis­sion.’’

But the de­mand was for one­and two­bed­room units ‘‘and the rules are not re­ally con­ducive to build­ing those’’.

‘‘That’s what peo­ple most want to rent.’’

Mr North said he em­ployed 30 staff in sum­mer but was for­tu­nate to have a larger ‘‘longterm crew’’.

‘‘Chefs are the hardest to come by in sum­mer and we are re­ally well off for them this year.’’

Mr Schikker said as an em­ployer of 12­15 sum­mer staff and 30 win­ter staff he knew ex­actly how hard it was to find ac­com­mo­da­tion for them.

His pro­posed vil­lage is on a 5000sq m site at the in­ter­sec­tion next to Mt Iron, be­tween Wanaka and Al­bert Town, and pro­vid­ing worker ac­com­mo­da­tion was one of the main mo­ti­va­tions for the pro­ject.

‘‘It’s re­ally hard to find an acre of land [4046.85642sq m] that’s eco­nom­i­cally vi­able to do it, that close to town.’’

The vil­las would pro­vide a ‘‘flat­ting sit­u­a­tion’’ for work­ers, with each con­tain­ing six bed­rooms, two bath­rooms, three toi­lets, a kitchen, liv­ing room and din­ing room, with a sep­a­rate laun­dry.

‘‘Hav­ing chil­dren who have trav­elled over­seas our­selves . . . we want it to be as good as you would want your chil­dren to have if they were trav­el­ling over­seas, and that they can be safe and warm and well looked af­ter.’’

He hoped it would ‘‘pos­si­bly’’ be ready for next sum­mer but ‘‘more re­al­is­ti­cally’’ for the win­ter of 2020.

❛ I think what we are

look­ing out for is a lit­tle bit of growth and

noth­ing ma­jor. Def­i­nitely so far it doesn’t feel like it’s go­ing to be crazy busy

Ig­nite Wanaka Cham­ber of Com­merce chair­woman Brid­get Leg­navsky’s sum­mer busi­ness

fore­cast for Wanaka

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