St Albans hails workers' village

ARIELLE MONK
Last updated 05:00 13/02/2014

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A temporary workers' village is set to be operating in St Albans by the end of this year.

Local residents have welcomed the recently approved development on Madras St. St Albans Residents' Association chairwoman Emma Twaddell said locals had tried to have the site developed for community purposes without much luck, and were keen to see something happen on the section.

"We hope there will be involvement of locals and authorities and the developer to ensure a healthy and safe environment for all our residents, including those here temporarily."

It is the second time the Christchurch City Council has given the go-ahead for development of the Madras St site. Last year Christchurch company JGM Group pulled out of its temporary village plans amid concerns that temporary workers' accommodation lacked demand.

Portacom New Zealand secured the site late last year, but only obtained resource consent for the project from the council last month. Portacom New Zealand South Island manager Phil Botting said a start date had not been determined yet, but the village would definitely be open by the end of the year.

He also said there had been "strong interest" in the village and there was definitely "demand there".

"We've been talking to some of the major contractors around town about what we're doing."

Shirley-Papanui community board chairman Mike Davidson said the village was a step forward for the St Albans area, as long as there were no negative effects for the community.

"It looks like a good opportunity to develop that land. It will also have some benefit to the community as we move forward.

"The whole of Christchurch is in a housing shortage, so this could be a great advantage," Davidson said.

The council sent out a letter to surrounding residents on January 8 informing them of the approved resource consent, and acknowledged the "significant change" in the use of the land, which was previously grazed.

The village will be home to up to 200 rebuild workers and a site manager.

Each unit will contain four rooms, complete with ensuites and storage space. The complex will also include a gym, and communal kitchens and dining areas, with access from its Madras and Canon St entrances.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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