Fairfield and Enderley residents have questioned why they were not consulted about plans to build 70 houses and communal outdoor living spaces on Shakespeare Ave and Tennyson Rd as part of Te Runanga o Kirikiriroa's Community Housing Project.
The first of a series of meetings was held on Wednesday night at the Enderley Community Centre with key community representatives. The project has been a seven-year development and the land for the houses was bought two weeks ago.
One resident, who has lived in the area for several years, was keen to give her opinion about the decision-making process. "There has been no communication from the Runanga. You are all making decisions for us, we are left out."
The Runanga's chief executive, Mere Balzer, presented the organisation's vision of the project including a digital model of the houses to be built, its affordability and eligibility.
But some residents were not pleased, with one woman addressing her concerns directly to Balzer, saying: "Some people like privacy, it's a commune whaea, there's nothing more to it."
The models included economical but modern two-storeyed homes with three to four bedrooms suitable for families and single level homes "more suited for kuia and kaumatua".
"The idea is that one-third will be pre-sold, another third will be rent-to-buy option and the other third will be for rent, because we realise not everyone wants to own their own home," said Balzer. "We can help people into their own home and teach them about equity and that that equity could send your children to university."
The plans also included solar panels on the roofs, alfresco dining and shared outdoor space and gardens.
One resident asked whether the project would provide an opportunity for employment, especially for youth.
Balzer said "that could be an option" and discussions were had about a possible collaboration with Wintec Trade School but nothing had been finalised.
The target market were the "working poor" and those who Balzer said "are desperate for a house but do not necessarily have to be employed". "Superannuation and pensions are not given to give you a lifestyle; they're given to you to maintain you."
Community constable Craig Taylor said: "I realised early that if you engaged with the community, you got a much better response and help with reducing crime in the area. It was great to see the community working together on a common project."
The build is expected to take 2 to 3 years and is planned to start at the end of this year or early next.
- Waikato Times