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Property News: 10 September 2018

Youth park wheels turn slowly

A long wait for a youth park in Stoke continues, but the end may be in sight.

At a Nelson City Council community services committee meeting last week, it was revealed that preliminary work on the proposed park was under way, about eight years after the idea of a youth space in Stoke was first floated to council.

In August 2011, the council approved plans to build a youth park on the site now occupied by the troubled Greenmeadows community centre. But after a backlash from local businesses and residents, then councillor Paul Matheson filed a notice of motion to revoke the decision, which was passed, scuppering the project – and the plans have languished ever since.

Council group manager of strategy and environment Clare Barton said there was now a team of council officers working with consultants to ‘‘kick the project off’’.

‘‘The funding goes over the next three years, so this year was for scoping exercises, going out to the community, validating site options, and next year will be for design and start of build.’’

Fulton said the young people of Stoke had been waiting for a place to call their own since before she was elected as a councillor.

Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese said she was ‘‘delighted’’ to hear that work was being done towards the youth park, and said the council should work with local groups or organisations on the project.

(The Nelson Mail, Wednesday 5 September 2018)

Work underway for Kohatu Park

Work has started on road improvements to pave the way for the planned Kohatu regional motorsport and adventure park, near Tapawera.

An upgrade of the intersection of Olivers Rd and Motueka Valley Highway is a condition of the resource consent for the proposed park. Tasman District Council has approved a contribution of $300,000 for the road improvements.

Kohatu Park trustee Ash Price said that over the past few months, drawings and specifications for the road alterations were reviewed and approved by council engineers.

Price said work on the first stage got under way last month, with the clearing of trees and vegetation on the verge where the road was to be widened.

‘‘Over the next three months, substantial earthworks, road construction and sealing will take place,’’ Price said.

It was hoped that the work would be completed in late November or early December, he said.

(The Nelson Mail, Wednesday 5 September 2018)

New life for dam plan

The Waimea dam project is back on track.

Tasman district councillors yesterday revisited a no decision they made nine days earlier and decided in a 9-5 vote to proceed with the $102 million project.

Three councillors who voted no last Tuesday voted yes yesterday – Paul Hawkes, Dana Wensley and David Ogilvie.

A relieved Tasman Mayor Richard Kempthorne said a revamped funding model made a huge difference, lowering the expected costs for ratepayers.

Increased contributions from the council's partners in the project, Waimea Irrigators Ltd (WIL) and Crown Irrigation Investments Ltd (CCIL), would ‘‘offset costs that would otherwise have been for ratepayers’’, Kempthorne said.

Wensley asked WIL strategic adviser John Palmer if she would be told who the investor was if the meeting went in committee. Palmer said no.

In a vote 10-4, the councillors agreed to take the matter behind closed doors. A complaint by Stuff to the Ombudsman to have the debate and vote held in public was unsuccessful, as the Chief Ombudsman did not have jurisdiction to investigate decisions by the full council.

(The Nelson Mail, Friday 7 September 2018)

No winter chills in Nelson market

As average property values fall around the country, the Nelson region continues to trend upwards, according to the latest figures.

Nelson residential property values rose 9.3 per cent in the year to August, and by 2 per cent over the past quarter. The average value in the city is now $588,140.

Values in Tasman district have also continued to rise, up 8.7 per cent year on year and 2.3 per cent over the past three months. The average value there is now $585,198.

Nationally, the winter chill put the brakes on value growth and market activity, but annual growth rates remain solid.

QV said first-home buyers continued to benefit from less competition and were driving modest value growth, particularly in low- to mid-value areas.

Constrained housing supply coupled with a stable interest rate environment was another key market driver supporting a seemingly steady market.

In Auckland, prices were down 0.4 per cent in the quarter, in New Plymouth down 0.3 per cent, in Christchurch down 0.2 per cent, and in Queenstown down 1 per cent.

The average value for the Auckland region is now $1,048,956, while Queenstown-Lakes district also remained in seven figures at $1,161,159.

Despite seeing the largest quarterly growth, with 3.3 per cent, Invercargill remained the country’s most affordable region at $272,855.

(The Nelson Mail, Friday 7 September 2018)

High St upgrade still far away

A long-awaited upgrade of High St Motueka has not made it into NZ Transport Agency plans for the next three years.

NZTA regional relationships director Jim Harland said the proposed upgrade of the High St section of State Highway 60 would not be funded by the agency in the 2018-21 period.

‘‘The Government’s current priority on increasing safety across the state highway network means that the Motueka project, whilst aiming to deliver some safety benefits as well as an improved journey time through the town, has not made the threshold for inclusion,’’ Harland said.

‘‘The list of proposed state highway projects was moderated nationally to ensure consistency across the country,’’ he said. ‘‘The transport agency thanks everyone who has participated in the investigation of this project to date.’’

Ogilvie said it was ‘‘so frustrating’’, but he would try and talk with NZTA and the council to at least get the clock tower corner roundabout installed. ‘‘That could be achieved without a great deal of other things happening.’’

(The Nelson Mail, Friday 7 September 2018)

Nelson ready for big rugby party

Nelson bars and restaurants are expecting a huge night tomorrow, with rugby fans converging on the city for its historic first All Blacks test.

Nelson will be New Zealand’s rugby capital for a day when the All Blacks take on Argentina at Trafalgar Park. Organisers are pulling out all the stops to make sure people can get in, get out and get entertained on the day of the test match.

The Nelson Regional Development Agency has organised a fan trail which will run during the afternoon in the centre of town.

During the day, upper Trafalgar St will be closed to vehicles, with dedicated zones for family entertainment, arts and crafts, music and food. Musical acts will be playing at 1903 Square from 1pm to 5.30pm, while the Nelson Provincial Museum will be setting up a pop-up exhibit on the history of rugby in Nelson.

There will also be increased transport services to help ease congestion in town.

The Nelson City Council and NBus will be providing transport in and out of Nelson from midday until midnight, along regular NBus routes and out of the Wakatu Square carpark.

(The Nelson Mail, Friday 7 September 2018)

KiwiBuild opens door to prefab companies

KiwiBuild has opened the door to off-site housing construction to help meet its goal of 100,000 new affordable homes over the next decade.

The head of the Government’s affordable housing programme, Stephen Barclay, said it was putting out an ‘‘invitation to participate’’ (ITP) to the off-site manufacturing industry in addition to the developers it had already lined up.

Off-site manufacturing had long been identified as ‘‘a potential gamechanger’’ for the construction industry in terms of reducing costs, getting houses up quicker and improving their quality, he said.

PrefabNZ chief executive Pam Bell said the ITP was ‘‘the answer to our prayers for scale’’.

‘‘The prefabrication industry is hindered by three areas. One of them is procurement, one of them is bank finance, and one of them is the building consent system.

‘‘So this is the first one, which is about procurement and scale. Whether it comes through the Government direct, or Housing New Zealand or HLC [Hobsonville Land Company], it doesn’t matter. The thing we’ve been missing to date is the appropriate scale.’’

The deadline for off-site manufacturing KiwiBuild proposals is November 12.

Shortlisted companies would present to KiwiBuild’s evaluation panel in the first quarter of next year, and speed to market would be a consideration, Barclay said.

KiwiBuild plans to have 1000 homes built by mid-2019, 5000 homes by June 2020, and 10,000 homes by June 2021.

(The Nelson Mail, Saturday 8 September 2018)

Hallmarks of community threatened

It’s a mid-winter Wednesday morning, just another playgroup day. Children shriek on bikes and mothers chatter on the verandah over freshly-brewed coffee at the Onekaka Hall in Golden Bay.

Since 1977 the playgroup has been meeting at the hall in the small rural community. Several generations have gone through the old wooden doors for the weekly event.

The hall was originally built in Rockville in 1911 by the Education Board and was shifted to Onekaka as the community grew. Today it’s one of Golden Bay’s most well-used halls, by both the immediate neighbourhood and wider community.

But community and town halls all around the country are facing uncertain futures, as owners are now required to bring them up to 34 per cent of the new building standard, or face demolition.

Many have been knocked down or decommissioned in the last five years, including at least 10 community halls so far in Horowhenua, Matamata Piako, Western Bay of Plenty and Masterton. It’s sparked a complex and emotionally-charged debate around the trade-offs between heritage, building standards, and public funds.

In Golden Bay, the new multimillion-dollar recreation centre has been built near Takaka and comes with the slogan, ‘‘One Place For All’’, casting a great big shadow over the viability of two community halls in the area.

Buried in the Tasman District Council’s 2018-2028 Long-Term Plan, it’s revealed there will be a strategic review of all 18 councilowned community and town halls in the district. This is part of council’s wider agenda around asset management, and to relieve itself of those that are problematic and expensive to maintain.

In Golden Bay, the Pohara and Kotinga Halls will be targeted.

But local historian and author Robin Robilliard says there will be a ‘‘huge outcry’’ by Golden Bay people if there’s any threat to the halls.

Robilliard, who moved to a mountainous Golden Bay sheep farm in the 50s, knows only too well how vital halls are. They were the ‘‘social place to be’’, without burdening other people by being in thier homes. People would meet once or twice-weekly for cards night, dances or other social gatherings.

But once television came along, she said halls gradually began to empty. She’s delighted to see them being re-embraced again, being the ‘‘pulse of the community’.

(The Nelson Mail, Saturday 8 September 2018)

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