Student village a hit with flat-seekers

21:08, Mar 31 2014
Andy Mikhail student village
RIGHT AT HOME: First-year engineering student Andy Mikhail and residential assistant Dalia Zarour, in Canterbury University’s new Waimairi Village flats.

Turning up to his first flat ready to move in with strangers was all part of Andy Mikhail's new found independence at Canterbury University's new student village.

Fifteen four-bedroom flats were built in Waimairi Rd, under a three-year emergency housing consent, in an effort to combat a housing shortage affecting the city's tertiary students.

Waimairi Village will be officially opened this week.

Andy Mikhail student village
Andy Mikhail student village

Lincoln and Canterbury universities began looking for solutions to an increasingly tight housing market after the 2013 year began with reports of students sharing rooms, bunk beds and improvised bedrooms. Local residents were even being approached for homestay options.

Waimairi Village manager Cushla Foley said there were nine beds left of about 60, and there was still "lots of interest", especially among post-graduate students.

Students of any year level paid $195 a week for a double room in the self-catered houses, which included power, internet and cleaning. All they needed was linen and to cook for themselves.


First year engineering student Andy Mikhail, 18, said he jumped at the chance to live in the village due to its close proximity to the campus without being too dear.

"This was the ideal place, right across Ilam fields and cheaper than the halls. It's a new chapter. You've got everything you need."

It was his first time living away home, and despite fielding daily calls from his parents at home in Timaru, it was easier than he thought it would be.

Being nose-to-tail with 14 other houses meant a good student experience, while having more privacy than in a halls of residence, he said.

Residential assistant Dalia Zarour, 22, was there to help students settle in and to keep noise in check, but tenants were "very well behaved".

Vice-Chancellor Rod Carr said the university had to take urgent steps to help alleviate the tight Christchurch housing market.

". . . We see the Waimairi Village as exciting for the Christchurch economy, for the university and for students.

The university was considering building more accommodation on the Dovedale campus.

The Press