Eco housing plan gains council support

01:56, May 07 2009

A plan by the Nelson Tasman Housing Trust to build medium to high-density community housing on Nelson City Council land in the Brook Valley is a step closer, now that the council has agreed to support the idea in principle.

The trust has asked the council if it can buy or lease at reduced rates a portion of the OK Corral site for development of "low-cost, high-standard eco houses" for the community housing development.

The council's community services committee agreed at its meeting last week to support the proposal in principle, subject to more detailed information.

Housing trustee Keith Preston told councillors last week that Government policy was changing in terms of community housing and how it could be funded.

"If we could work with the council to identify some land, that will enhance our proposal to Housing New Zealand," Mr Preston said.

The affordable rental housing proposal comprises up to 12 two and three-bedroom houses on a 0.4 hectare portion of the Brook Valley site.

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Mr Preston said the trust was considering building nine low-cost homes on the site.

The council resolved in November 2007 that it would support in principle a partnership between itself, the housing trust and Canterbury Community Trust to develop further social housing. The site at OK Corral was then listed among the council's plans to divest land for the project.

City council parks and facilities manager Paul McArthur said in his report to councillors that the housing trust wanted the council to either gift the land, or sell or lease it at a discounted price.

Mr Preston said at last week's meeting that if this happened it would greatly help the trust's plans to develop and expand.

He said the trust also recognised it was a special site next to the Waimarama Community Organic Gardens.

"We'd love to work with them to develop an allotment. We are keen to build eco houses in a high- to medium-density development."

The committee has recommended the trust provide a proposed subdivision plan and development layout, and a summary of consultation with the immediate community and other parties likely to be affected by the proposed development.

The council will handle an assessment of the cost of allocating land, and whether gifting, selling or leasing the land at a reduced rate is the preferred option.

Council staff will also talk to other social housing providers that had previously registered an interest in surplus council land.

The Nelson Mail