Drilling deep in Stoke

$80m village development takes shape

LAURA BASHAM
Last updated 16:12 04/12/2012
Drill
MARION VAN DIJK/FAIRFAX NZ
DRILL BABY, DRILL: Waimea Drilling Co set up near the Summerset in the Sun subdivision on Nayland Road.

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The crew working a drilling rig on a Nayland Rd site have had plenty of passersby stop and ask what they are up to.

They tell the disappointed inquirers that they haven't struck oil in Stoke.

Instead they are drilling down 350 metres for water for irrigation at the Summerset in the Sun retirement village subdivision, said Waimea Drill Co leading driller Brendan Higgins.

So far they were down to 300m through the Moutere clay and gravel and one test had been done and it had been decided to go deeper to get more water, he said.

When that's done they will put in a pump and test further.

Mr Higgins said it was a change to have people asking about what they were doing as they were usually out of the public eye working on farms or orchards.

They had a quiet winter but work for the company had picked up, particularly with lifestyle blocks.

The more than $80 million Summerset village development off Sargeson St will eventually have more than 240 homes and a 60-bed care centre.

Chief executive Norah Barlow said the village was now halfway through stage four and would have 101 homes completed by this month - ahead of the 70 stated in July.

The number of residents has increased from eight a year ago to nearly 70, and they celebrated the village's first birthday this week with a party.

She said a considerable amount of civil works, such as roading had been completed, and resident amenities including a vegetable garden, which was under way, and a petanque court, and a bowling green were being added.

"The landscaping is coming together with residents adding their own touches," she said.

Next year at least 25 units will be built.

Site and contract manager Dave Anderson said the plan was to keep on building.

"It's been an incredibly busy year."

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