Kāpiti expressway takes toll on local housing availability

Protesters outside a house in Te Moana Rd, Waikanae, being removed in 2013 to make way for the Kapiti expressway
JOEL MAXWELL/STUFF

Protesters outside a house in Te Moana Rd, Waikanae, being removed in 2013 to make way for the Kapiti expressway

Housing availability on the Kāpiti Coast has been hard-hit by the expressway and other nearby state highway upgrade projects, it is claimed.

The Kāpiti Coast Communities Housing Taskforce says about 100 existing homes were removed to make way for the expressway, while hundreds of highway construction workers and their families moving to the district were also reducing housing supply.

Taskforce chairman Paul Hughes said issues extended to people being priced out, insecure rental tenure, poor quality housing and insufficient social housing stock.

John and Julianne O'Kane watch their former family home in Paraparaumu being carted off to make way for the expressway ...
STUFF

John and Julianne O'Kane watch their former family home in Paraparaumu being carted off to make way for the expressway in 2014.

He said the market was not delivering what the community needed.

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The taskforce has recommended Kāpiti Coast District Council consider housing needs when preparing its 2018-2038 Long-Term Plan.

"There's much that can be progressed to improve the supply and affordability of homes, such as making better use of existing habitable units that are not being used and more medium density and affordable housing needs help to come onto the market."

Hughes said the NZ Transport Agency still owned a "handful" of houses locally that it should put back in the market. He said the agency also had surplus land in Raumati South, bought for an alignment that was not used.

"There's scope there for a significant number of houses. We need a big development, rather than ones or twos, to get ahead again."

He said the agency would have to offer the land back to iwi. But if they did not buy it, the government could transfer the land from the agency and "get on" with building affordable housing.

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NZTA bought 54 houses for the Mackays to Peka Peka expressway, and 50 for the Peka Peka to Otaki project.

An agency spokesperson said some houses needed to be demolished because of their condition, while the rest were sold or would be sold to relocation companies.

Mayor K Gurunathan acknowledged houses had been removed to make way for the expressway, but said "it has brought and continues to bring many benefits to the district, including increased economic activity and jobs".

"Improving housing is a complex task, requiring commitment from central, local and non-government agencies, iwi, as well as businesses and the community ...  complex issues which we will have a conversation with the community about during the Long-Term Plan process."

Jade Property owner and property manager Cindy Foote said the rental shortage in the district was the worst in her 27 years in the business.

Advertised rentals were already down to 48, which compared with the typical low point of about 100, which tended to occur over summer.

Developers were building "mansions" rather than smaller homes for middle-income families, she said. "You've got this massive gap in the market ... and there's no high-density in Kāpiti."

The taskforce included representatives from the building industry, social services, public health, central government, and the property industry.

It had four key recommendations: that suitable NZTA land, left over from the construction of the expressway, could have affordable homes built on it; that the council should lease its social housing stock and land to local registered community housing provider Dwell Housing Trust; that the council investigate why landowners did not want to let unused habitable units; and that the council waive or reduce fees and levies for residential development, particularly when bought by a community housing provider.

 - Stuff

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