A new way forward for affordable and social housing in Nelson

16/08/2021 4:34am
Concept image showing proposed development from Bridge Street. Not actual design.
Concept image showing proposed development from Bridge Street. Not actual design.

A proposal to sell Council-owned land to Kāinga Ora has the potential to create 175 affordable and social homes for Nelson.

Pending agreement at a full Council meeting on Thursday 26 August, Nelson City Council will consult the public on a proposal to sell Council-owned land in the city centre to Kāinga Ora to provide a potential 175 new homes in a high-quality affordable and social housing development.

The development, if it goes ahead, will be one of the largest mixed-use developments outside of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

The consultation will seek the community's views on the sale of 69 to 101 Achillies Ave and 42 Rutherford Street. 

Less than 50 per cent of the 175 properties will be social housing, with the remainder providing affordable housing.

The ground floor of the buildings will be set aside for commercial or community activities.

If, following community feedback, Council decides to sell the land, Kāinga Ora will then complete its due diligence process before it finalises the purchase of the property.

Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese said Council consulted on housing and intensification as a priority in the 2021-31 Long Term Plan. 

This included a plan to partner with central government to support intensification and an increase in the supply of housing.

"Hundreds of submissions to our Long Term Plan 2021/31 supported housing as a priority and this is an important step toward achieving that goal.”

Based on 2020 data, house prices in Nelson have risen 88 per cent in the past five years, and rents have increased by more than 30 per cent over that same timeframe.

KO2Locations of proposed developments at 69 to 101 Achillies Ave and 42 Rutherford Street.

The average Nelsonian spends about 38 per cent of their household income on their rent or their mortgage. That percentage is higher than the ratio of the income-to-housing costs in Auckland.

"The knock-on effect is that we are getting to a point where our businesses want to grow, but they can't attract skilled staff or even retain skilled staff in this region because of the cost and supply issues with housing.

"Kāinga Ora are well placed to provide the affordable housing Nelson requires and they are keen to partner with us.

The economies of scale that they can bring to the table are important in an economy where construction costs are rising rapidly.”

Kāinga Ora owns and manages about 1,620 state homes in the Nelson and Tasman areas.

Regional Director Kāinga Ora Julia Campbell said her organisation is committed to providing more homes of a variety of types in Nelson and across the region.

"Our partnership with Nelson City Council forms part of that work, and we're thrilled to be working with them to look at providing housing solutions that meet the needs of the community."

Should the sale go ahead, Campbell says Kāinga Ora would engage with local stakeholders and the community to keep them well-informed throughout the course of any development.

KO3Engagement and Partnerships Manager Kāinga Ora Lorellin Syben (from left), Nelson Deputy Mayor Judene Edgar, Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese and MP for Nelson, Rachel Boyack, at a media briefing about the Kāinga Ora proposal on Monday, 16 August.

Specific designs and concepts would be created once the sale was approved, but "any development partnership between Kāinga Ora and the Nelson City Council will seek to provide features that enhance and give back to the community".

Mayor Reese said the proposed development would bring a lot of benefits to Nelson's city centre.

"By increasing the number of people who live in or close to our city centre, we not only ease the affordability crisis but also bring people closer to the services they regularly use and their workplace.”

Council's preferred option is to sell the properties to Kāinga Ora at market value, and proceeds from the sale of the properties would be used to pay down debt. 

However, the consultation also outlines other options, such as selling the land on the open market or retaining the land.

How to take part in the consultation:
The consultation will open on 30 August, 2021. 

To provide feedback you can either visit: the Shape Nelson website from 30 August, or pick up a hard copy of the consultation document at Council's Customer Service Centre and public libraries.

Consultation on Te Ara ō Whakatū will also open on 30 August, 2021. Council will publicise more details on this consultation shortly.