Homes proposed instead of camps

MARC GREENHILL
Last updated 13:51 29/09/2012

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Christchurch Earthquake 2011

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Large, furnished homes may be built for Christchurch's influx of rebuild workers as an alternative to camps and villages.

Domain Consulting, run by Christchurch property investment consultant Tanya Kwasza and Rosh Daji, has for the past few months worked on plans for purpose-built permanent accommodation for workers.

The fully furnished houses would cater for four to eight people, would not be grouped together in a village, would be located near amenities such as gyms and churches and would become part of the city's housing stock.

Sites had been identified and completion was expected in March.

"It's not containers, it's not something that's going to be built up, then taken down. They'll transition into normal family residences," Kwasza said.

The houses would either be in, or close to, the central business district, as well as in the Selwyn and Waimakariri districts.

"We've got demand out in Kaiapoi, so it's where people need them. We've got the potential to go wherever."

About 30,000 short-term workers were expected to be needed for the city rebuild.

Kwasza said the concept was "more sensible" than a workers' village or camp.

"People can be housed in what I would consider a more natural environment because it is long term. They're here for a couple of years, and how good is that for the soul to be in a camp for two years? It's not normal living," she said.

Private investors would fund the build after contracts with companies supplying workers were secured.

Kwasza expected Cantabrians to back the scheme, especially those who had lost rental properties in the earthquakes.

Guaranteed tenancy was a key selling point, she said.

"It will be demand-based but we've already got a few people who have said, 'We need X amount of houses', and we're just going to match that up with the investors," she said. "The people we want to have the first shot are Cantabrians themselves."

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