Residents vocal in opposition to housing 'trash'

DEBBIE JAMIESON
Last updated 05:00 21/06/2013

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A recommendation that the Queenstown Lakes District Council approve valuable Arrowtown land for affordable housing will be considered next week, despite strong opposition to the proposal, including concerns it will attract criminals to the area.

The Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust wants to build 10 rental houses on the council-owned Suffolk St site, which currently houses dilapidated cabins and the Arrowtown Rugby Club rooms.

More than 250 people submitted on the controversial plan and were split between those concerned about the future of the rugby rooms and sporting facilities, those in support of the plan and some opposed for social reasons, including John Hamilton.

"We don't need white or black trash renting cheap houses in Arrowtown," he said.

"Arrowtown has a very low crime rate because poor people can't afford to live here."

Eva Baloga said: "There are plenty of affordable homes in Timaru. No need to live in Arrowtown."

Others suggested affordable housing would be better placed in Lake Hayes Estate, Shotover Country and Frankton.

However, there was also strong support for the proposal, which would allow workers such as teachers and their families to rent at an affordable rate in the town.

Jane Peasey said: "We all work extremely hard to live in this amazing place and I can't understand how people would want to take that opportunity away from equally hard working, though lesser paid, families."

While many submitters were concerned that the rugby club would be left homeless, the recommendation to council makes it a condition of the deal that a suitable agreement with the Arrowtown Rugby Club is reached on continuing their access to the facilities until a replacement is available.

The council will also be asked to resolve that it continues working with the Arrowtown Community and Sports Centre to establish a clubrooms and sports facility on Jack Reid Park.

The council will consider the recommendation at its meeting on Tuesday.

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- The Southland Times

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