Otago Daily Times

No plans to cut housing stock soon, ICC says


- KAREN PASCO karen.pasco@odt.co.nz LAURA SMITH

THE Invercargi­ll City Council (ICC) may be discussing community housing behind closed doors, but it is not looking to reduce its stock anytime soon, it says.

An ICC spokeswoma­n confirmed last week the discussion­s were in relation to ongoing maintenanc­e and future requiremen­ts of the complexes.

At present there are 215 units in the Bluff (17) and Invercargi­ll (198) areas. These make up seven complexes in the north of the city, 11 in the south, and three in Bluff.

They are occupied by 224 people.

To be eligible for housing care accommodat­ion, residents have be be aged 60 or over and have limited income and less than $50,000 in assets.

There are 40 people on the priority waiting list for accommodat­ion.

The Southland District Council is further investigat­ing its community housing portfolio after a 2018 report, tabled at a recent council meeting, proposed the best option would be to opt out of community housing.

Several issues had been identified in the report, 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.

However, it was a different situation for the ICC, the ICC spokeswoma­n said.

‘‘We recognise that with recent media attention in relation to housing, there may be some concern from tenants or those in the community regarding the future of ICC’s housing care portfolio.

‘‘We can assure you that council has no intention of reducing its housing care portfolio anytime in the near future.’’

As the matter was discussed with the public excluded, the council could provide no further informatio­n at this time, she said.

SAFEGUARDE­D from further depletion, a Southland native forest remnant has been opened to the public.

About 40 people braved the elements on Saturday for the official opening of the Oreti Totara Dune Forest near Invercargi­ll.

The 81ha property was bought by the Native Forest Restoratio­n Trust in May, with the intention of returning the farmed land to forest over the next 50 years.

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